Large chunks of London are falling out of public ownership and into private hands. Think: Canary Wharf, the Olympic Park, Broadgate... The Garden Bridge will also carry off-putting restrictions. This weekend, a bevy of well-known opponents will descend on City Hall to protest, provoke and entertain.
Described as both a 'public space intervention' and a 'mass trespass', the Space Probe Alpha event includes a series of talks that stick up for our rights as free-roaming citizens. The list of speakers is impressive and includes Will Self, Anna Minton, Lord Clement-Jones, Bradley L Garrett, Sian Berry, Jenny Jones, Daniel Raven-Ellison and Mark Thomas.
The area around City Hall is well chosen. 'More London', as the space is named, feels like a public space, where you can do whatever the hell you like (subject to the common law). Rather, it's controlled by private security, with its own set of regulations. You can be admonished just for taking a photo, as Assembly Member Jenny Jones discovered while snapping pics of her place of work. Other forbidden activities include begging, busking, skateboarding, hoodies, public assembly, protest and loitering. It's an increasingly common state of affairs, which the Green Party yesterday condemned.
As well as putting on talks in nearby Potters Field Park (public land), the Space Probe Alpha event will have a bit of fun with More London's restrictions. The first intervention will see participants engage in commercial photography on More London property (albeit for a penny a photo). Later on, comedian Mark Thomas will lead a mass ramble around More London land. Throughout, participants will be encouraged to use the local cafes and shops, to show how more openness is good for business.
Anyone can join in. Just turn up between noon and 2pm.
Space Probe Alpha is at More London and Potters Field Park, 13 February 2016, noon-2pm. Participation is free