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This Artist Turned Empty Manholes Into Decorated Rooms To Raise Homeless Awareness

Some abandoned manholes in Italian cities are now serving as artful reminders that too many people make a home for themselves underground.

  • <p>Examples of the Borderlife project, by the artist Biancoshock</p>
  • <p>Examples of the Borderlife project, by the artist Biancoshock</p>
  • <p>Examples of the Borderlife project, by the artist Biancoshock</p>
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    Examples of the Borderlife project, by the artist Biancoshock

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    Examples of the Borderlife project, by the artist Biancoshock

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    Examples of the Borderlife project, by the artist Biancoshock

Only by seeing simulated domestic scenes in cramped underground quarters does it become clear that such a thing is impossible. One artist is using the contrast of cozy confines and life in the sewers to raise awareness of the homeless plight in European cities.

Biancoshock, who is based in Milan, works in a medium somewhere between performance art and activism. His new project, Borderlife, is emblematic of his overall aesthetic as it gives random passersby something to look at and think about—and also addresses the problem head-on. The artist recently converted several abandoned manholes in Milan and the Italian city Lodi into fully decorated miniature rooms.

There's a kitchen, a bathroom, and a living room—all radically condensed into KonMari-proof sizes, but still decked out enough to look like movie sets. From the intricate tiles in the shower to the Raphael angel baby painting on the wall, the rooms look like actual places people might live. Biancoshock has pointed out on his website that there are currently hundreds of people living in sewers in cities like Bucharest. In addition to drawing attention to this condition, his project will actually give at least a few of those people a moment's peace. "If some problems can not be avoided," he writes on his website, "make them comfortable."

If nothing else, though, Biancoshock's work certainly does put the whole Tiny House Hunters phenomenon in sharp relief. Hopefully, nobody seeking to move their family into a 300-square-foot lean-to in the Vermont woods will catch wind of the project and relocate to Bucharest.

Have a look through more images from Borderlife in the slides above.

[via Twisted Sifter]

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