by Miriam La Rosa 

From Accessibility and Privacy to Freedom
Miriam La Rosa: In the previous two chapters of LIMITACTION, you have been investigating the phenomenon of accessibility and privatisation of public outdoor spaces in London. How does this lead to the issues you are exploring in Freedom? Meaning: what are the links between the concept of privatisation and the current political situation of London?

Charlotte Warne Thomas: Well, in a sense, I would say that all the research that I have done so far, and that I have been doing during my residency in the Window Space, is leading up to that question. It is basically what Anna Minton is talking about in her article Common Good(s) – Redefining the public interest and the common good, where she explains the history of enclosure – with the Enclosure Acts in the 1700s and how the Victorians reversed this, by making the streets public again. So, there are legal rights of access to public streets, and it is about the law, i.e. about legality. Minton kind of explains this story quite nicely, but what is interesting is that this goes hand in hand with the idea of freedom, for example; the idea that you can access the streets and you can protest, so when you walk in a public place, like a Common or a street that is publicly owned, it is not a private piece of property. In certain areas – squares and some streets – in London it looks the same but the space is not public. It is actually private. So, in those places you cannot do certain things; whatever they decide you cannot do, like taking photographs, filming, protesting, sleeping on the street, skateboarding, whatever it might be. So, I think that it is a very interesting point with the general elections around the corner; in terms of freedom, there is this idea of who owns what, the sense of public place and public sphere. So, if something is in the public sphere what does that mean? Where is it? – Physically, I mean. We have been talking a lot about this during the development of the previous chapters, so I think it becomes now a natural progression into the ideas around freedom.  

FREEDOM > Miriam La Rosa > 22.04.2015