It is assumed that every inch of the world has been explored and charted; that there is nowhere new to go. But perhaps it is the everyday places around us—the cities we live in—that need to be rediscovered. What does it feel like to find the city’s edge, to explore its forgotten tunnels and scale unfinished skyscrapers high above the metropolis? Explore Everything reclaims the city, recasting it as a place for endless adventure.
Plotting expeditions from London, Paris, Berlin, Detroit, Chicago, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, Bradley L. Garrett has evaded urban security in order to experience the city in ways beyond the boundaries of conventional life. He calls it ‘place hacking’: the recoding of closed, secret, hidden and forgotten urban space to make them realms of opportunity.
Explore Everything is an account of the author’s escapades with the London Consolidation Crew, an urban exploration collective. The book is also a manifesto, combining philosophy, politics and adventure, on our rights to the city and how to understand the twenty-first century metropolis.
On Wednesday last week, in Court 9 of Blackfriars Crown Court, the law finally saw sense and justice was served. More than 20 months after author Bradley Garrett was hauled off a plane on the runway at Heathrow and arrested by the British Transport Police, it was finally agreed that he should be granted conditional discharge and face no further charges.
Garrett first came to public attention in 2011 when he uploaded to his website www.placehacking.co.uk videos of an adventure to the top of the as-yet unfinished Shard. The clips showed not just how exciting it might be to scale the tallest building in London at night, but it transformed the way we could look at the city. Garrett soon proved himself to be more than just an adrenaline fiend, place hacking was the subject of his PhD. This was later adapted into the book Explore Everything: Place-Hacking the City published last autumn.
Urban exploration can be read as a reactionary practice working to take place back from exclusionary private and government forces, to redemocratise spaces urban inhabitants have lost control over.