The eventual selfie can bring kudos and currency to city rooftoppers
When teenager Harry Gallagher clambered on to the roof of Canary Wharfs highest building his employs moved viral. Gallagher, 19, aka Nightscape, is a rooftopper, a person who has incomes access to buildings and restricted infinites to take photos of themselves, often hanging in precarious poses. To the uninitiated, it might appear to be a brand-new phenomenon, but rooftoppings genesis lies in the long-established urban adventurer action, known as urbex.
An early exponent was Jeff Chapman, or Ninjalicious, the late Toronto-based explorer who in the early noughties infiltrated builds and underground methods, preserving his adventures in his zine, Infiltration. Chapman tended to shun the limelight, but now rooftoppers are aiming ever higher in their quest for personal exaltation and reward.
Urban exploring starts to fragment into different rehearsals, said Theo Kindynis, a criminologist at Roehampton University. What was traditionally “ve thought about” as city expedition, fetishists exploring vacated mental asylums, this kind of thing, is mutating. Youve now got subway explorers and youve got rooftoppers like Nightscape doing the foot-dangling thing. As a answer, youve got brand-new attitudes and etiquettes progressing. The old-time take-nothing-but-photos-leave-nothing-but-footprints adage is increasingly irrelevant.
Gallagher has previously targeted Robin Hood airport in Doncaster, the ceiling of West Hams new stadium, and the London Olympic parks Orbit structure. His exploits are posted on his YouTube channel and promoted through Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. His latest hack, liberated online last week, will have helped cast his honour rising. Gallagher and a pal can be seen climbing on to the roof of One Canada Square and scaling its pyramid.
At the start of the video, already deemed 450,000 hours and liked by 45,000 people on YouTube, the pair describe these new challenges as almost impossible and express astonishment that they were able to pull it off. But Kindynis is not convinced. These guys are notorious within the background for poaching other folks spots. I highly disbelief the latter are the first people to get on to the roof of One Canada Square. They were probably told how to do it by someone else. Within the urbex parish, these happens tend to be kept hush-hush, but now its on YouTube and they will have changed their security measures so nobody else will be able to enjoy that rooftop.
Within certain elements of the community, these guys are not liked. They are seen as a number of problems. Cranes and construction sites and rooftops are going lock the door because these guys are prostituting it to social media.
The high-profile stunts of Gallagher and his cohorts seem a nature away from urbexs original ethos and its political connotations. In an section for Domus periodical in 2011, Dr Bradley Garrett, an urban explorer and a geographer at Southampton University, suggested that urbex practitioners were restoring the practice of usufruct which mostly means that someone has the right to use and experience the property rights of another, it is not changed or impaired in any way.
But Kindynis intimates the selfie generation are not in it for the philosophy.
For the people doing it, its all about the persona, get the hot, exclusive YouTubable footage. Its about improving their personal brand, all about the epitome, all about the spectacle.