Architects Journal
11 03 04

WEBWATCH
Sometimes being hijacked can lead to happiness

I was going to refer you to this site and let you get on with it, but it had the whole AJ staff falling off its shared VDU stool with helpless laughter. It is the site of Space Hijackers Architectural Design, the self-styled international troublemakers, at www.spacehijackers.co.uk/architects. I'm not claiming that my ranting about the primacy of usability over visual tricksines in architectural website design has had the slightest influence on its content, but I have to say that this site underlines the truth of that old maxim about a single image saying a thousand words.

Space Hijackers' second manifesto at www.spacehijackers.co.uk includes propositions such as:'By creating new and contrasting myths and stories within space, we can create "Anarchitecture", whereby there is no heirarchy of control ... the architectural language of placescan be corrupted by meerly spreading ideas about these places ... a method of change as opposed to another revolutionary utopian ideal.' Looking around the current avante-guarde architectural landscape, it may well be that things are moving pretty much in a Space Hijacker direction.

Like all good Dadaists (no, they don't call themselves that) they have grasped that fun is one of the great weapons of change: they were behind a series of events ranging from a London sightseeing tour where the rule was that you were not allowed to touch the ground - and if you did you had to hold your breath: through putting up notices warning people that alongside CCTV cameras, mobile phone conversations were being monitored: to several parties on the Circle Line complete with (male) pole dancing, several bands, tequila bar, knitting circle and the like - the kit for which had to be smuggled aboard disguised as luggage. 'As soon as we hit a station everybody stopped and we all tried our best to look like bored commuters'. How satisfying. All that stuff about architects running the world"suddenly it makes sense.

Sutherland Lyall