The Art of Squatting

This documentary takes a contemporary look at squatting in England. Mostly filmed in South London, it is set against the backdrop of the approaching olympics and the new law (passed today) which makes the practice of living in unused properties illegal. It explores the kinds of people who live in squats and why, and addresses how these places contribute to society. It takes the view that squatting in itself is an artform.

Part 1 explores an underground punk gig at a squat, and we meet some of the people who help the night happen. We also learn a bit about squatting in the 1970’s.

In Part 2 we talk to a band big on the southern squat scene. We visit the oldest squat in England and see how they open their arms to the public. We are introduced to a campaign group opposed to the law criminalising squatting, and we hear from the council and a housing association. We also visit an art exhibition with work from people who have been living homeless.

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  • Sheesh

    The art of taking over someone’s house when they eff off on holiday? Yeah right. Get a job.

    • Gaz

      goes to show how much you know about the subject. Please stop reading tabloids and make an informed decision of your own.

      • ha

        Thankfully, the law now supports the view of the person who ‘reads tabloids’. Guess we are are blind? thank you

        • Gaz

          it is common knowledge that mainstream media will give unbalanced and negative coverage on something in order to turn the public’s view

          • I smell a conspiracy

            Your hugely presumptuous comments also seem somewhat at odds with the documentary above – have you actually watched it? I didn’t see much respect or intelligence; just allot of jobless drug-users who feel they are due something for nothing. Party on.

          • Gaz

            Yes I watched the documentary and I’d appreciate it if you didn’t make efforts to patronise or belittle me. The people in the documentary are both respectful and intelligent people as I know some of them personally and can confidently say that none of them would ever break into an inhabited property with the intention of squatting. It is not fair to demonise people for being resourceful in the face of potential homelessness. They are merely making use of what the city can provide and are often in a position to offer the property owner an efficient and cost effective way of securing the property for a long term basis. After all not securing the property safely and effectively puts the community at risk and can lead to the destruction and decay of the property so In some cases it is actually beneficial to the owner to have squatters in the property however all of this is over looked by most people commenting on the subject along with all other positive aspects of squatting.

    • Lisa

      You think it’s right people sit on big properties just waiting for the prices to go up so they can sell them and make more money rather than selling when there is a big demand for housing? I make ok money but i don’t like spending £1000 pounds a month on a flat i would get for half the price in another country. I totally understand the squatters and i think it’s important someone is fighting a system that is made only to accomodate the rich.

      • Tagger

        I’m not rich… the system accommodates me just fine and I still manage to pay for what I consume. You figure that just because someone can afford to pay for their flat, that it makes them rich? What a joke! Essentially, the piper led the rats out of the city… then the squatters took over from where the rats left off. Just what every neighborhood needs… our vacant buildings filled with jobless drug addicts that really know how to throw a party on the cheap.

  • Asmodeus’s Antics

    A very bland documentary on a potentially interesting phenomenon.

  • Jim

    Poor documentary detailing how jobless junkies spend hard-working folk’s tax dollars.

    • Gaz

      And how does the government spend hard working folks’ tax dollars? How much of it goes on illegal wars? The cost of squatters to the tax payer pales an insignificance compared to the cost of fighting in the middle east or the cost incurred by irresponsible bankers and traders besides this, how much of the tax payers money goes on funding the social housing and the benefits scheme that allows people to live for nothing at the expense of the tax payer? wise up people squatters are not the problem here.

      • I smell a conspiracy

        Yaaaa, perhaps we could deal with the subject at hand? i.e. how better off would the state be if these fecken wasters got off their fat-lazy-junkie asses and…got a job???

  • get a job

    A documentary about how some folk think they are due something for nothing. Move along; nothing to see here.

  • confused

    why is it asylum seekers and EU immigrants can come here with absolutely nothing; no family; no friends; no support system; no qualifications; no prospects (I could go on), yet seem to be able to get jobs; rent a flat; pay tax…yet the people in this awful film, with the privilege of their existence just happening to be in a modern, state supporting, civilised society, would rather hold a party in someone else’s house? ….perhaps this is a reflection of those who ‘choose’ not to work?

  • garbage

    ps Despite the affliction of politics upon this debate, it’s actually a pretty crap watch – I could do better with an iphone and a bottle of scotch.

  • re: family guy

    The very first segment interviews some lucky pup who claims justification upon the owner of the building he is destroying due to tax debt…

  • feefoo

    I find it funny that almost all the negative commenters called the squatters “junkies” or “drug addicts”. Do you have some secret power that I don’t that enables you to tell whether a person is a drug user or not based on their clothes? Some squats are full of drugs yes, but really no more so than the upmarket bar I work in in Central London is on a Saturday night. Many squats (especially in London where the scene is more creative) in fact have a strict no-drugs rule, which is generally enforced much more thoroughly and easily than in a conventional venue, because the people involved have a high degree of respect for each other and as anarchists believe in co-operation and honesty. All in all I thought it was a good snapshot into a widely misunderstood part of society.

    • feefoo

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jR0Jl_T_BXw < This one shows some of the most responsible and positive squatters, although of course they're not all like that :)

      • ironoy

        Next stop; juxtaposition central.

    • foofee

      Having watched this crap, and taken in the references and ‘normality’ of drug use reported by the featured job-dodging-scum, I don’t see why anyone would need telepathy or some ignorant view of clothing to form the view that these wasters prefer drugs to life. Perhaps if we all “gave a little more than taking a little more” the brainless hippies would get a job?

    • sheesh

      I find it funny that in amongst 25+ negative commentors you class one use of “junkies” and one use of “addicts” as “almost all”.

      Get off the drugs bitch and get a job. Let me recommend that it’s not something to do with counting.

  • Gaz Dread

    Very very boring!!!

  • sickofit

    Suckling at the tax nipple while grabbing the state’s plums. Leeches.

    • disqus_BxwboDTJaw

      Kill yourself, sickofit.