These Artists Staged a “Wheelchair Invasion” of Cairo’s Streets

The site-specific performance was intended to promote conversation about urban accessibility

If you were around downtown Cairo recently, you might have caught sight of a wheelchair caravan rolling through the city. The spectacle, called Mission Roosevelt, was part of a performance for the Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival staged by the artists who founded and make up the Tony Clifton Circus. Twenty volunteers strapped themselves into wheelchairs and rode through town in an attempt to conquer urban space on two arm-powered wheels.

“Mission Roosevelt sets out to cross the urban space. It uses the wheelchair as an instrument and a tool, as a metaphor of the disparity through which to conquer the city,” they write on their Facebook page. “It is an experience of town planning, a performance appealing to the participation of the public which, installed on wheelchairs, is transformed into a kind of firing squad, in one merry war machine. Mission Roosevelt is an invasion of the city.”

A participant in this video produced by Medrar TV described the experience as “scary” in the beginning, because the chaos of Cairo’s streets offered plenty of opportunity for collision. It’s important to note that most of the participants were able-bodied. There appear to be a few people among the convoy who use the wheelchair on a regular basis, as a tool for navigating the world; they donned shirts that delcared them “differently-abled.” When the performance was over, the Tony Clifton Circus donated the chairs to those in need.

The artists of the Tony Clifton Circus say the project uses wheelchairs as a way to interrogate social perceptions of disabilities; specifically, they were interested in the fact that the wheelchair was inscribed with an “international taboo” that “crossed borders,” even though the chair symbolizes, for many disabled people, a tool of access and freedom. They’ve staged Mission Roosevelt in different parts of the world, including cities in Italy, France, and Lebanon. Because these stagings are site-specific, they help examine the particularities of urban accessibility in each city and how urban design accommodates disabled people.

AFP News Agency / Twitter

A study out of Belgium found that smart people are much less likely to be bigoted. The same study also found that people who are bigoted are more likely to overestimate their own intelligence.

A horrifying story out of Germany is a perfect example of this truth on full display: an anti-Semite was so dumb the was unable to open a door at the temple he tried to attack.

On Wednesday, October 9, congregants gathered at a synagogue in Humboldtstrasse, Germany for a Yom Kippur service, and an anti-Semite armed with explosives and carrying a rifle attempted to barge in through the door.

Keep Reading Show less
via Andi-Graf / Pixabay

The old saying goes something like, "Possessions don't make you happy." A more dire version is, "What you own, ends up owning you."

Are these old adages true or just the empty words of ancient party-poopers challenging you not to buy an iPhone 11? According to a new study of 968 young adults by the University of Arizona, being materialistic only brings us misery.

The study examined how engaging in pro-environmental behaviors affects the well-being of millenials. The study found two ways in which they modify their behaviors to help the environment: they either reduce what they consume or purchase green items.

Keep Reading Show less

One of the biggest obstacles to getting assault weapons banned in the United States is the amount of money they generate.

There were around 10 million guns manufactured in the U.S. in 2016 of which around 2 million were semiautomatic, assault-style weapons. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry's trade association, the U.S. industry's total economic impact in 2016 alone was $51 billion.

In 2016, the NRA gave over $50 million to buy support from lawmakers. When one considers the tens of millions of dollars spent on commerce and corruption, it's no wonder gun control advocates have an uphill battle.

That, of course, assumes that money can control just about anyone in the equation. However, there are a few brave souls who actually value human life over profit.

Keep Reading Show less
via Reddit and NASA / Wikimedia Commons

Trees give us a unique glimpse into our past. An examination of tree rings can show us what the climate was like in a given year. Was it a wet winter? Were there hurricanes in the summer? Did a forest fire ravage the area?

An ancient tree in New Zealand is the first to provide evidence of the near reversal of the Earth's magnetic field over 41,000 years ago.

Over the past 83 million years there have been 183 magnetic pole reversals, a process that takes about 7,000 years to complete.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Pixabay

The final episode of "The Sopranos" made a lot of people angry because it ends with mob boss Tony Soprano and his family eating at an ice cream parlor while "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey plays in the background … and then, suddenly, the screen turns black.

Some thought the ending was a dirty trick, while others saw it as a stroke of brilliance. A popular theory is that Tony gets shot, but doesn't know it because, as his brother-in-law Bobby Baccala said, "You probably don't even hear it when it happens, right?"

So the show gives us all an idea of what it's like to die. We're here and then we're not.

Keep Reading Show less