Collaboration w anon,

Nest, 2019

They lay on the soggy mattress in the cold, watching dawn break the city into pieces. Fingers tremoring from either exhaustion or from the biting cold. Twisted. They had worked through the night on top of a squatted construction site, and weaved a nest from different objects found on the roof or brought in from the street. Pieces of scaffolding, timber, cushions, furnishings were lovingly screwed, twisted or bound into a shelter. Looking east, prepared for the sunrise, it was already starting to rot... After they left, going into the building or riding away. There were many others. People climbed up and took the space in their own ways. It didn't fall down, even when those bodies were rocking it. It became a fiction that they tried to see through. It was hard to make, so by moonlight they had made maquettes from splinters of wood on the roof to explain to each other how to make it stay up. Barricading the fire doors with spare timber, secured with the chain to keep out prying eyes during the build, at least. Maybe people thought it was a retreat, that nest. It felt more confronting than that, paying attention to the kinds of environments, they were making together. It was obsessive. Kindly, it could be said they were ‘working through’ the knots in some of the complex relationships that were colliding around them. Putting things together, next to each other. On top of each other. Making them into something else. Nesting. Connecting metaphors of what support might feel like. As the shadows retreated, upper levels of surrounding building sites became crowded with hi-vis dots, as workers, started screwing, twisting and bounding their projects together.

                                                                                                      

Back to another building. Another empty warehouse in Lewisham. This time she moved alone, and there wasn't much onsite. Just an alcove in front of an empty elevator shaft in the large room. Dragging slabs of wood up seven flights of stairs, with thin paneling, sheets of sitex and pieces of furniture. Other people helped, they brought up food, drinks and shared tools. It was raining outside but the roof wasn't leaking. The blanket was dry, which was good, people were sleeping in different corners and summer was over.

It didn’t make sense to everyone, this nesting. It didn't make sense to everyone, these empty buildings. London is crowded with them, and squatters say they shouldn’t be left “to rot”. But the squat-rot sets in once they arrive. She worked through the night again. Rubbing together materials and contradictions. People started setting up their paintings in another section while she stapled thin airy gauze into splintering timber and wedged it under a roller door while a crumbling panel kept that up. Each element seemed as tired of conflict as she. But they stacked together, and were, provisionally, a whole. Arguing with itself.

Legal Warnings taped to their front doors give squatters rights and protection, and various networks and infrastructure protect the practice from obscurity. For now.

Despite fierce independence, like any other, this collective depends on so many various supports that shape a “place in the world".