Peckham Outer-Space Initiative

5 September 2011

In Ships Not Shelters, the Peckham Outer-Space Initiative (POI) has produced a publication creatively renouncing the stasis inherent in the idea of a shelter, and instead embracing the ship as a vehicle (physically, mentally) for some diagonal forward thinking. Primarily comprising of Anvil and El Ultimo Grito, whose studio/gallery Shopwork serves as the weekly meeting place for the Initiative and the springboard for all the productive solutions to come out of POI. In need of further explanation – and with them being the sorts of people who promote dialogue as a mode for making – it made sense that we ask them a few questions about the whole endeavour.

What is Shopwork?

The underlying premise behind Shopwork is to encourage and develop writing about production, practices and personal approaches to work, with the aim of creating a greater level of understanding about what design is, and could be.

With these aims in mind it was paramount to find an open arena in which to generate this discussion. This is how what we call the ‘Shopwork Dialogues’ started. This is a space where an open group of designers, thinkers, practitioners, etc. could meet and discuss ideas of design as a form of applied philosophy.

Why publish Ships Not Shelters – is it a manifesto of sorts?

Now it’s finally on our cisterns, shelves and tables we are able to defer and refer to it as part of the canon and feed it right back into the dialogue and the everyday, an underwriter of our reality.

Ships Not Shelters (SNS) is the battle cry of this campaign, a cry for a progressive view of the world which is represented by the ship, a tool for the prospect and fascination of the uncharted. The shelter sits in sheer contrast to this, it is where we hide away, scared to venture out into the unknown. Amongst other things we are working on a prequel to SNS which will work as a direct manifesto for POI. That is POI not just as the “Peckham Outer-Space Initiative” but also the broader “Point Of Interest.”

SNS is also simply a handy (170 page) reminder to GTFO of Earth.

In the Peckham Outer-Space Initiative how do you use your discussions to create work and do you work collaboratively?

It’s important to make it clear that our dialogues are both a means and an ends, as much a part of the work we do as a process to generate material. It is in discussion, which is by its very nature collaborative, that we probe and explore our thinking. We work out turns of phrases, cliches, opinions, views, and understanding.

Another important part of our current process is making what could be called fanzines: a super short-run of awkward and impenetrable documents that chart how we have applied our emerging half-baked thinking into our practices. So when it came to put ‘Ships not Shelters’ together, we butchered the zines and built on them, replacing and refining the material.

Have any of you ever taken practical steps to leave Earth? (Physically not mentally.)

Although we are currently focused on understanding and developing motives for leaving and analysing outer-space as a cultural living condition, the Peckham Outer-Space Initiative is a libertarian organisation that encourages the development of individual utopias and therefore actively promotes and supports any individual’s efforts to leave Earth.

With regards to a POI PLS (physical leaving solution) we both collectively and individually make daily attempts to overcome and free ourselves from our planet’s gravity grip. But to date the Earth has remained defiant in the face of these efforts, and so for the time being we remain grounded, slaves to the surface.

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About the Author

Bryony Quinn

Bryony was It’s Nice That’s first ever intern and worked her way up to assistant online editor before moving on to pursue other interests in the summer of 2012.

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