If you type ‘roofers’ or ‘roofing’ in google most of the searches will lead you to companies who fix roofs. Paradoxically, this term in Russian has been totally created from English language but does not really exist in English in the same sense.
If you type ‘roofers’ or ‘roofing’ in google most of the searches will lead you to companies who fix roofs. Paradoxically, the term in Russian [руферы, руфинг] has been totally created from English language but the word does not exist in English with that meaning – those urban explorers are rather called roof-toppers.
People have always climbed roofs to have a better of a city festival or to have a romantic date, but it was during 2000s (we also call them in Russia ‘zero years’ [нулевые] ) that roof-toppers formed a movement. It is based on a combination of romantic desire of young people to distance themselves from the ‘zero’ and meaningless life running down there while they are just wasting their time on the top of another roof, and of the interventionist desire to reclaim the territory of their own city (getting to a roof-top is always illegal in Russia although technically they are not anyone’s property). As roof-topers we know our city very well: all its tiny streets, all its codes and unlocked doors, all its angry inhabitants and dangerous dogs, all its back stairs and fire exists. Actually, this city belongs to us.
I have been practicing ‘roofing’ for more than three years now. Here I intend to share with you some of my thoughts about it as well as pictures.
Photos: Alisa Oleva
In the urban exploration culture there is a very straightforward but, arguably, most genuine solution for organizing exhibitions. Where to make an exhibition of photos from the roof-tops if not on a roof-top? Where to make an exhibition of pictures and photos from underground if not in an unfinished construction of the heat header?
In the urban exploration culture there is a very straightforward but, arguably, most genuine concept for organising exhibitions. Where to make an exhibition of photos from the roof-tops if not on a roof-top? Where to make an exhibition of drawings and photos from underground if not in an unfinished construction of the heat header?
In July 2011 a group of ‘diggers’ (those who explore the underground world of the city) led by moscowhite, have organised an exhibition featuring drawings by hatever and kreazot_13. It took place in a heat header right in the central district of Moscow. During one day (due to the illegal and spontaneous nature of such events they essentially have a very short life span) dozens of people would be climbing down not only to see the works but also to get the real feel of urbex life. While most of the guests were from the community itself, there were quite a few for whom the process of getting to the location was a real adventure. The location was specifically chosen so it was not very dangerous and illegal (the header is abandoned) and everyone who wanted could get to the location without getting lost in the tunnels. The exact address was not revealed – only the nickname of the place. Thus, everyone from the community knew it and could get there straightforwardly while all other guests could write a message to organisers and get directions. During that one day several hundreds of people have come down and walked along the tunnels to see the exhibition.
The organisers have installed lights (apart from candles and torches brought by spectators) and played ambient music which could already be heard in advance, as you were approaching the location along the tunnel.
Have a look at the very atmospheric video from the event: ‘Real Underground’ by Anastasia Zotova.
Photos: w-molybden, huan_carlos, jst-ru