Discriminatory architecture

In memory of Leonard Ball, who hated fat peopleThe entries in B3ta‘s current image challenge, ‘Fat Britain’, include this amusing take on anti- $USER_CLASS benches by monkeon.

(There’s also this, using a slightly different discriminatory architecture technique – don’t click if you’re likely to be offended, etc, by B3ta’s style.)






  1. If you carefully removed the armrests I wonder if you would have a successful defence against “Damaging public property”? Especially given you were clearly improving public property – rectifying the damage done by the council…

    No doubt the bolts affixing the rests have security screws?

    That kind council thinks of everything.

    Perhaps these benches would be better classed as non-functional artworks or sculpture?

    What dismays me is that in a hundred years time people will be eagerly buying reproduction versions of these benches for their back gardens – “Genuine anti-vagrant park bench, circa 2000-10”. And then child will say unto parent “Mum, what’s a ‘vagrant’?”.

  2. Dan

    I like your point about the future perspective on this kind of thing… reminds me of Paul Graham’s ‘What you can’t say’.

    But I should point out, the bench above is only a photoshopped picture from B3ta’s competition. Not that someone somewhere isn’t being inspired by it right now…

  3. I thought only the label was photoshopped (or actually stuck on to a bench as if a brass plaque). I presumed the bench was real and the label was incisive satire.

    Anyway, I have also seen a light turquoise faux/reproduction Brighton Victorian 4 seat bench with a central dividing armrest – presumably an ad hoc design ‘improvement’. What gets me is that people value supposed authenticity over function, even when they don’t have any fricking vagrants in their back garden!

    Oh, and as for heresy, how about “Copyright is an unethical anachronism that should be abolished”? The trouble is, such heresy and the heretics who peddle it have an uphill struggle, even if like heliocentricity they are more representative of nature. Analogously, if you’re in a family of slave owners and have found slavery to be entirely normal throughout your formative years, there must be instinctive mental barriers that prevent such self-incriminating paradigm shifts from even starting, such as wondering if perhaps slavery isn’t quite as ethical as you had at first supposed.

    “I will not accept the enslavement of my fellow man, nor any imposition upon his liberty, as reward for the publication of my art”

  4. C’mon. Give it some more punch with alliteration. “Copyright is an abhorrent anachronism that should be abolished.” 🙂

  5. Well, ‘None of 3’, the people to whom I direct my version of the statement do not find copyright abhorrent, so it would be unsupportable for me to make such a claim – unless I was expressing a subjective opinion (not what I intend).

    It is only when the population at large start copying files for themselves and to all and sundry that they begin to question (let alone find abhorrent) the wisdom of the government that gave their liberty away 300 years ago – especially when they start getting prosecuted for such natural, cultural acts.

    But, hey, you don’t need my permission to produce a derivative statement that you find more aesthetic. Do what comes naturally. Ignore copyright.

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