By: Eman Elshahawy
It keeps us at the edge of our seat to watch others capture the moment of themselves at the edge of tall platforms. Whether it’s a building, cliff or high-story parking garage, an online buzz has stirred around the daredevils posting pictures or videos of their towering views for social media views.
The popular hip-hop media outlet “Worldstar” recently shared a video to their Instagram feed that shows a man hanging by one arm off the rooftop of a tall building and then proceeding to do pull-up exercises by lifting himself up with his hands along the edge while his legs and feet dangle high above the ground, alongside the building with no safety net.
The 60-second video went viral surpassing 1.2 million views on Instagram depicts the activities known as “parkour,” a form of free-running where one aims to get from one point to another as rapidly and efficiently as possible in a complex environment with no protective or assistive equipment; and “buildering,” a word combining “building climbing.” All height-phobias aside, the online videos of this stuff can make anyone’s heart race or cause one to break a sweat from watching regardless of having a fear of high altitudes.
I reached out to the account of the video’s original poster Mouzaffer Yigitbasi, (Instagram: @mouzaffer_38), an 18-year-old from Grenoble, France who is the one seen performing this stunt in a 10-story parking garage in the city.
“This is not my first building,” he noted.
Nearly four years ago, Yigitbasi was just 15 when he started training in elements of parkour and buildering. He recalls his cousin introducing him to the activity when he asked the then teenager at the time if he wanted to tag along to record themselves recording stunts on top of buildings. Although Yigitbasi remembers feeling scared for his first building, he was successful and immediately hooked on the high of adrenaline.
Today, the 18-year-old has picked up parkour and buildering as full-time hobby; climbing and scaling buildings two to three times a week in addition to training acrobatic elements at the gym.
Before gaining the attention of Worldstar’s Instagram with over 22 million followers, Yigitbasi began uploading POV GoPro videos of himself performing stunts on buildings in Grenoble and later his friends joined to film other videos.
“I sent them [Worldstar] a video message and they liked my video so they featured it,” he said.
The video instantly went viral with top comments ranging from people questioning his safety to reporting secondhand anxiety upon viewing– and with good reason! Not only do the stunts propose a danger, but the ways people go about capturing videos and pictures of their stunts have proven to be deadly. World reports have circulated around the accidental deaths of popular social media users as a result of attempting to digitally capture their moments in dangerous environments. Even regular users with small followings have succumbed to the deadly consequences from taking selfies at such heights.
Yigitbasi considers himself a pro at this. He trains often and doesn’t limit himself to just buildings.
“I can practice everywhere,” he said. “On the roof or on the ground.”
Yigitbasi doesn’t see himself stopping anytime soon. The viral video star passionately expressed that parkour and buildering are more than a hobby to him, that he describes as, “a mode to my life.”