The story of the so called 'Children of the Sewers' of Bucharest has been covered by media worldwide. What emerges from these spectacular depictions are pitiful accounts of life underground. The journalists and video makers focus on drug consumption, abnormality and deviancy - building a narrative that is about both personal culpability and Bucharest's supposed backwardness.
In 2003 I met for the first time the men and women living in the tele-heating tunnels crisscrossing the underbelly of the Romanian capital. In 2014 I went back, spending months investigating how the tunnel, for them, was more than a simple refuge. The tunnel - as they put it - was a 'casa', a proper home. The shots below capture some of the moments through which that home was made and unmade, on a daily basis, through encounters, reciprocal care, fights, a whole exchange and labor economy, and more.
These pictures are a complement to my ethnographic writings about the canals (see for instance here). They serve as a document to show what the authorities of the city have destroyed, in foreclosing the tunnel of Gara de Nord in June 2016: the displacement of a weird home, yet still 'casa' for many people who lived year for almost two decades, and did not want to be institutionalised in one of the city's shelter.
Pictures cannot be used without my explicit written permission.