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HomeNews‘Rooftopping’ Is Widespread on Instagram, however the Dangers Are Excessive

‘Rooftopping’ Is Widespread on Instagram, however the Dangers Are Excessive


Remi Lucidi, a sergeant within the French Military, died removed from a battlefield. His physique was discovered final week apart a Hong Kong skyscraper the place he had been noticed close to the rooftop.

In his spare time, Mr. Lucidi, 30, was a “rooftopper,” shorthand for somebody who takes images and selfies from the tops of tall buildings, typically by trespassing. After his loss of life was reported, some Instagram customers debated the worth and goal of his artwork, which concerned clambering onto ledges and antennae in cities throughout Europe, Asia and the Center East.

To buddies and admirers, Mr. Lucidi’s spine-tingling images had been the work of a proficient, stressed adventurer. To his critics, they had been a case research in reckless risk-taking.

That debate mirrors tensions inside a broader motion referred to as “city exploration,” or “urbex,” one that’s typically related to individuals who trespass in an effort to inform the tales of deserted properties. Rooftopping is a part of urbex, however a lot of its practitioners are extra enthusiastic about producing social media content material than in exploring marginal city landscapes with a quasi-academic spirit.

In an excessive instance, the Russian mannequin Viki Odintcova dangled from a Dubai skyscraper with out security tools. Her stunt generated greater than 1.6 million views after she posted it on Instagram in 2017, and loads of criticism.

“To Mannequin Viki Odintcova: That Photograph Was Actually Not Value Risking Your Life,” learn the headline of a Forbes commentary. (She didn’t reply to a request for remark.) A number of others world wide have died whereas rooftopping lately.

Criticism typically comes from inside the urban-exploration motion. A distinguished rooftooper, the Toronto-based photographer Neil Ta, give up the observe a couple of decade in the past, saying that he had been disillusioned to see the pastime flip right into a contest over who might take essentially the most harmful photos. Different critics are urbex veterans who object to the rooftopping ethos.

“Rooftopping is concentrated extra on the joys and the expertise of being in excessive, vertiginous and dangerous areas, whereas urbex explores deserted locations in a method that’s safer, extra documentational and historic in nature,” HK Urbex, a collective of masked explorers in Hong Kong, stated in an announcement.

HK Urbex, whose members enterprise into deserted or harmful websites throughout the Chinese language territory as a method of exploring its historical past, stated that rooftoppers have died world wide from a mix of inexperience, overconfidence and the need to take thrilling photos.

“A life is just not value a like on social media,” the collective stated.

Theo Kindynis, a sociologist who has studied rooftopping, stated that to many city explorers, younger rooftoppers who have interaction in made-for-Instagram antics are often known as “dangle kiddies.”

“Remi’s Instagram is stuffed with the identical tropes — legs dangling in entrance of a cityscape, selfie stick on high of a mast, silhouetted determine on a ledge — that had been already changing into cliché in 2016,” stated Mr. Kindynis, a professor at Goldsmiths, College of London, referring to Mr. Lucidi.

Some rooftoppers push again in opposition to that characterization. One is Baptiste Hermant, 23, a Frenchman who has posted “dangling” images however described himself in an interview as an explorer, not a rooftopper.

Mr. Hermant stated most of his city exploration occurs off digital camera, and that he does it primarily for the pleasure of consuming beer along with his buddies on rooftops, after nighttime climbs, whereas watching the dawn.

“To be on a roof is simply my factor,” Mr. Hermant stated, including that he sees city exploration as a pure outgrowth of a childhood spent scaling rocks and timber.

As for Mr. Lucidi, his buddies described him in interviews as an skilled climber who had a specific curiosity in Hong Kong’s dramatic skyline. A assertion posted to one in all his Instagram pages this week referred to as him an “extraordinary photographer who captured the great thing about the world from breathtaking heights.”

Certainly one of his buddies, the Bulgarian rooftopper Yordan Boev, stated on Instagram that he deliberate to “conquer worry on a regular basis” as a method of honoring his buddy’s legacy.

“Metal towers are very very similar to friendships,” he wrote in one other put up that confirmed the 2 males taking a selfie collectively in Bulgaria, with Mr. Lucidi holding the digital camera. “We construct them sturdy and tall.”

Julien Kolly, a gallerist in Zurich who represents a French graffiti artist identified for city exploration, stated that Mr. Lucidi reminded him of Alain Robert, a French stuntman who has scaled buildings world wide for many years. He added that Mr. Lucidi’s social media posts had been merely a product of his period.

“Throughout his time, Alain Robert might solely depend on the press to cowl his ascents, whereas these days, Remi Enigma takes cost of staging and photographing his personal exploits to feed his Instagram account,” Mr. Kolly stated, referring to Mr. Lucidi’s Instagram nom de plume.

Mr. Lucidi’s loss of life was confirmed by phone on Thursday by the French navy and reported earlier by The South China Morning Publish and different information retailers. He was on trip in Hong Kong when he died, stated a French navy spokesperson who declined to be named, citing protocol.

The Hong Kong authorities haven’t confirmed the precise circumstances of the loss of life, saying solely that the cops discovered Mr. Lucidi’s physique after responding to a name from a safety guard.

Mr. Lucidi’s Instagram web page consists of 143 posts from excursions world wide — London, Bangkok, Dubai, Mexico Metropolis and so forth. In a single put up, he defined that he traveled broadly “to get extra adrenaline to discover a higher approach to take pleasure in life.”

Lots of his posts had been accompanied by hashtags like #urbanrogues and #scaryhighstuffs, and playful captions that made mild of the dangers he took to get his photographs.

“Enjoyable on the Edge,” he wrote of mendacity on a roof ledge in Warsaw two years in the past.

Mr. Lucidi had made a number of journeys to Hong Kong. His final goal there was the Tregunter Towers, a three-building luxurious residence that sits on a quiet, winding highway close to the mountainous backbone of town’s primary island — excessive above the trams, buses, workplace buildings and pedestrians beneath. The South China Morning Publish reported {that a} witness had seen him knocking on the window of a 68th-floor penthouse.

On Friday morning, safety guards on the complicated had been standing behind a black gate shrouded by subtropical foliage with purple flowers. Home staff guided pedigree canine and child strollers up and down slender, twisting sidewalks.

A couple of runners had been heading additional uphill, towards a climbing path that climbs via a forest to a mountain peak with panoramic views. Some paused to look again on the similar skyline that Mr. Lucidi had captured in his final put up.



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