A Russian artist has suspended a home-made stage from the fourth storey of an abandoned building to send a heart-wrenching message on equal rights for disabled people.
Known by his alias Vreditel Li? (or “Is That a Pest?” in English), the Samara-based artist and his team took over a disused apartment block on the outskirts of the city.
After taking two days to drill holes into the building’s outer wall, they attached brackets in order to create a platform on the fourth floor of the five-storey building. Props were lowered down from the roof using a rope, while the artist himself wore a cleverly-hidden harness.
The performance sees the artist sitting in a wheelchair trapped by the steps — and the dizzying drop — beneath him. According to the team, the piece was designed to highlight the challenges faced by 12.5 million disabled people in Russia today.
“For my disabled neighbour, the staircase is an insurmountable obstacle — which is why we so rarely see people with disabilities out and about,” Vreditel Li wrote on his Instagram page. “But the staircase is just the first step in a series of urban obstacles. There are unusable ramps, poor-quality materials, falling tiles, subways, and many other dangers within our daily environment.”
The performance is just one part of Vreditel Li’s larger series 1м²: a cynical take on the millions of Russians trapped in punishing mortgages in a bid to afford cramped, mass-built apartments. Whether surrounded by bars or dressed in the colourful plastic trappings of a longed-for summer holiday, the artist remains trapped by his own home in the sky.