Region/Concept: Europe, Space
Sub-Concepts: Idleness, Stabbing, Treason, Soullessness
Description: Urban planners in London install spikes along luxury buildings, stores, and bridge underpasses in order to deter the homeless.

How will the neo-aristocratic quadrants of today’s urban space accommodate the figure of the vagrant, the drifter, and the unproductive? Micro-impalement. And so the threat of idleness is met by the modern restoration of a medieval tactic: the spectacular violence of old kings who once lined their courtyards with stabbed-through bodies has now returned in minorized form (one-inch metal spears rising upward from city benches) as a trend to ward off the rootless and the deprived. This notwithstanding, the old kings reserved such punishment exclusively for the traitor, for the worst conspirators and enemies against their dominion, thus leading one to ask: in what specific way has the beggar betrayed the modern age; in what way do these piercing instruments reveal an accusation of full treason against power? Why does their loitering offend to the extent of pre-emptive torture? Perhaps the architects of such discomfort, the ones who nervously usher in an era of needles and thorns, who spitefully steal sleep from the sunken, who discipline sloth with puncture wounds, detect a kind of mastery at work within the slouched or sprawled body of the homeless person: that is, a will to fallenness. Their lack of need to ascend, their lack of need to generate a living or join the crowd, to prove oneself in the continuum of social value, is also the lack of need to exist. They may in fact occupy some vantage of Being, in a manner foreign to our definitions, but they do not require its attainment (non-striving). And no doubt one should fear the man or woman who does not need to exist, for this seemingly impoverished subject is also the one who cannot be intimidated, persuaded, forced, manipulated, seduced-unto-unity, bought or sold (beyond the torment of the others). The waiting-for-no-one; waiting-for-nothing. They have chosen a certain soullessness, and are the richer for it (the spikes do not reach far enough).


Jason Mohaghegh