Landmine activist/traceur tries to cross Central London without touching the ground

An anti-landmine activist/traceur (one who practices parkour) working with the Dangerous Ground Project tried to cross all 50,000 square metres of central London without touching the ground. The resulting video is part parkour excitement, part chilling reminder of the risks that people all over the world face from the landmines that surround their homes, schools and places of work. Link


  1. Parkour is the sport/movement technique; a person who practices it is called a traceur or tracer.

  2. …Does London have a landmine problem?

    I’m gonna eat Twinkies to raise awareness of world hunger… Or something.

  3. Damn, Mattharvest was quicker, I was about to say the same ;-) There’s another mistake: Firstly, “crossing x square metres” makes little sense; you can cover/cross a distance, not an area. I guess 50,000 square metres is the size of the area that was enclosed by the loop that Lewis (the guy in the slide show) completed; they obviously picked that size because it’s the size of the mine field they aim to clear. The nitpicking aside, secondly: “all 50,000 square metres of central London” is nonsense; you get an area of 50,000 square metres by staking out, for example, a square roughly 225 metres to a side. This would be pretty much the size of a city block, certainly you can’t fit central London in there. It’s important to realize how small this area actually is, only then you can understand how expensive and laborious it is to clear a minefield.

    The idea for this project is brilliant. Most children play games of that sort, get from A to B without touching X, so first you see something you can relate to, but then you feel the impact of this game turning deadly serious. I also like how they did the visual documentation, this hybrid of photography and video.

  4. You might have mentioned something about the site being all flash (as you normally do) or that it automatically resizes your browser window in an abnormal way (mine was resized to fit my desktop, but only to the right – leaving half of it off the screen).

    I think the concept and cause are good ones, but the user experience leaves me wanting.

  5. Why parKour with a K? It smellls like cheap marketting like tektonic and kapuccino.

    I like the idea though of not touching the ground, but frantically replacing “c” with “k” is so ’97.

    The money needed to remove land-mines is so astronomical, it’s a money pit. Why not start with putting pressure on the people that still produce, sell and use land-mines instead. Or use the money to buy artificial limbs. Or education about land-mines, etc…….

  6. I didn’t care for this at all. Too disorientating. If you are trying to hammer home a message, make it easy to watch. one video window instead of four, use video instead of a string of photos, the only thing that left me thinking about was whether or not the guy was actually doing parkour or just taking pictures of him at different spots. Boo urns

  7. If you NEED to give money:


    “tracer” or “traceur” is just another word for running and runner in Parisian argot.

    There was an effort to make parkour into this new martial-arts type sport, some tried to brand it “yamakazi” (mountain wind), but since there is no possibility to sell accessories related to it (like skiing or parachute jumping, or scrapbooking), other than good shoes, or the trademark backpack, no one jumped in other than pennyless ghetto kids, who did it just for the thrill.

    in the end it’s just an obstacle course using urban terrain.

    oh, ya and flash sites suck and take forever to load.

  8. I’m about three years into my own project where I’m trying to cross the web without stepping on any gottdamned flash sites. I was about halfway there until I clicked on this article’s link. :-(

    When will we have an option in our browsers to stop websites from resizing our dang browser windows?!!

  9. i could totally beat this guy.

    Hail cab, slip driver an extra 50 pounds to let you ride on the roof.


  10. Reminds me of Phil Austin’s satirical short story “The Precipice Of Angels.” The story is a diary of an “Urban Lateralist” who tries to scale Hollywood Blvd. Austin is a member of the audio comedy group Firesign Theater and the story is very much in their style.

    A hilarious and strangely moving story. It is full of great quotes and I’d post a excerpt, but to my knowledge it is only available as part of an audio book called _Tales of the Old Detective and other big fat lies_.

  11. What a chillingly annoying “video”.

    1500 stills x ~10KB each = only 15MB, but it’s done in the most obnoxious, inefficient way possible … each frame is downloaded separately by a JavaScript. It’s like Web 0.0. You know, streaming video was invented for a reason.

  12. Way back when, I used to babysit 3 young boys who all would have been diagnosed with ADHD in this day and age (at $1 an hour no less!). Their fav game? To run around the living room without touching the floor, which included stepping on lamps, the cat and ME. Interesting to see how that game has matured…

  13. When will we have an option in our browsers to stop websites from resizing our dang browser windows?!!

    If your browser allows websites to resize windows and has no option to turn that behaviour off, you’re doing it wrong! (Read: Your browser is crap and all you should use it for is to download a better one.)

    A Flash warning would be nice, though. And fixing that other mistake (see comment #3 above) would be super nice, though I’m grateful that at least the protagonist isn’t called a “parkour” any longer :-)

  14. Wow, we Boing Boing readers are either brilliant lateral thinkers or need Ritalin. How did a post about landmines turn into a discussion about Flash?

    I’m really interested in CSS and SHTML, so I sure hope they post something about Darfur soon!

  15. Nick D, I agree with you when you put it into that context.

    But I guess it might also be some frustration about somebody trying to wrap up a message in some overtly gimmicky way…and download times were against it.

    It is after all a post about landmines that is completely reliant on Flash to bring its point across…in a way I found it really inappropriate.

    That whole thing of “let’s film social justice videos just like Madonna does to get the kids across” is a strong force, but good documentary is not dead yet…

  16. I see your point, el Nico. I was just disappointed because I was hoping to read some discussion about landmines, as well as the Vox Populi bits about Flash, which I really did find interesting.

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