Czech hedgehog (three blocks of social housing)


120 x 120 x 120 cm
Unique piece

The Czech hedgehog is an anti-tank defense obstacle consisting of angular metal bars joined together.

The hedgehog is very effective at preventing armored units, tanks, from crossing a defensive line. Originally, the hedgehogs were used by the Czechs on the border with Germany (hence their name) as part of a system of fortified defenses hastily built at the beginning of the Second World War. Czech hedgehogs were widely used during this conflict, they were made from any metal piece or even train rails. They also proved extremely effective in urban combat conditions, as a single piece could block an entire street.


At the beginning of the 21st century, the housing utopias of the Athens Charter are completely wrecked in the impoverished peripheries of global megalopolises. The egalitarian and just city imagined by collectivist utopias or the pacified city dreamed of by reformists, the one that would allow a “harmonious” flow of capital, work and domestic life, has mutated into a suburban dystopia on a global scale. Having definitively broken the fragile contract between capital and the social body, full of ghettos and walls, borders, enclaves and fortified areas for the privileged, that dream city is today a battlefield.

In the essay “Slouching towards dystopia: the new military futurism”, published in Race & Class, Matt Carr discusses the fact that in recent years, US and UK military think tanks have produced a series of reports that they try to imagine the future threats to the security of the West. This new military futurism sees threats to the Western way of life emanating from conflicts over resource scarcity, mass migrations and the growth of failed megacities where social disorder is a daily occurrence. The dark predictions of military futurologists posit an eminently urban scenario of war, of neighborhood-by-neighborhood, street-by-street, house-by-house fighting, and provide a justification for endless war against the dispossessed. As Mike Davis states: “For the Pentagon, the ‘failed cities’ of the countries of the Global South have been identified as ‘the key battleground of the future'”.

Czech hedgehog (three blocks of social housing) is a prototype for urban self-defense.

* Czech hedgehog (three blocks of social housing) belongs to BPS22 Musée d’Art collection, Charleroi, Belgium