Back flips off the destroyed infrastructure in Gaza

Though I’ve written a few pieces myself for the New York Times style magazine ‘T’ over the years — see these on Tunisia and China, or this improbable endorsement of a Belstaff jacket that would have been better done by George Clooney — it has been a long time since I’ve seen anything within its pages that felt fresh.  But now they have a profile of a group of traceurs in Gaza who have brought to the bombed-out infrastructure of their city the French practice of parkour, with its daredevil leaps and acrobatic flips.  The narration in the video below is by the photographer Klaus Thymann and it meanders a bit but the footage is fascinating: much of it was shot at Gaza international airport, which was destroyed by Israeli aircraft in 2001 in retaliation for the start of the second intifada.

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I have a soft spot for anyone who uses urban space in imaginative ways, which is why I shoot so many photographs of street art.  The French artist JR — I met him in Arles some years ago and wrote about him here — places his large-scale black-and-white photos on train roofs in Kenya and favela stairs in Brazil and was recently profiled in the New Yorker.  But no one on earth utilizes urban space with the wicked genius of the Bologna artist Blu: read this post, watch the video, be amazed.

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