Extreme Makeover: Abandoned Manhole Edition

An artist raises awareness for Bucharest's sewer-dwelling homeless by coating tiny manhole covers with suburban ephemera.

by Nathaniel Ainley
Apr 5 2016, 4:45pm

Images courtesy the artist

Severe and congested living conditions are a problem for the homeless all over the world, but Italian artist Biancoshock highlights the problems facing Bucharest's sewer-dwelling homeless in a new installation series in Milan called Borderlife. The street artist constructed three subterranean rooms out of abandoned manholes throughout the Lodi district of Milan. Biancoshock decorated these forgotten sewer entrances into a cramped square closet shower, a small foyer with a hook for your top hat and a Raphael painting to look at as you mull over your day, and, my personal favorite, a tiny kitchenette equipped with a clock, wood cooking spoon, frying pan, salt and pepper, and a small plant for ambience.

On his website he writes, “If some problems can not be avoided, make them comfortable. Intervention that, parodically, speaks about people forced to live in extreme conditions, even coming to live in manholes.”

At the end of his post, the artist links to a story concerning the desperate position of the impoverished living in Bucharest, the capital of Romania, where more than 600 people are living in sewers underground. The satirical art piece forces us to reflect on the communities too often overlooked by society and reminds us that poverty and unemployment are not the problem of a single country or government, but the world.

Check out these magnificent manholes below:


Check out more works by Biancoshock on his website, here.


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