The Bartlett School of Architecture


Critical Guerrilla Urbanism

Nelson Beesley

‘Critical Guerrilla Urbanism’ questions the state of the body under capitalism within the context of London. The work takes place as a series of live dérivist interventions which use the explorative ethos of skateboarding to test a mixture of public and private spaces.

The audience is initially any public who encounter the work in its live activations. The documentation is then released to various publics in the form of a book, website, research blog and exhibition, accompanied by reflections, narratives and pieces of academic writing.

The performance uses unskilled play to employ use values over exchange as the performer disrupts daily rhythms within city space and challenges defensive design. By applying these non-commodified actions, Nelson seeks to create an accessible critical tool for anyone to resist spatial capitalism or neoliberalism through unskilled use, play, appropriation and participation. Furthermore, as a practice-based research project, it challenges the neoliberal city and argues that urban-based expressions of art, play and practice in all forms must be upheld in their purest ethos, not co-opted, monetised through privatised restrictions to access, or appropriated for commercial gain.


1. Critical guerrilla urbanism I. Nelson Beesley, 2019
2. Critical guerrilla urbanism II. Nelson Beesley, 2019
3. Critical guerrilla urbanism III. Nelson Beesley, 2019