For a few hours last Friday, those browsing Airbnb may have stumbled upon a rather unusual living accommodation. Miao Jiaxin, an artist who was born in Shanghai and now lives in New York, attempted to rent out a private "Dream Cage" he had set up and posted on the website.
For $1 a night, you could have lived inside a metal-barred cage. Situated inside a studio on a roof deck in Brooklyn's Bushwick neighborhood, the mini jail cell consists of a bed, toilet, sink, and clock. The catch? You would have had to stay for a minimum of two nights and adhere to a rather stringent set of rules.
Miao required guests to stay inside his cage from 9 a.m. to noon, during which they would have no access to the Internet, electronic devices, books, radio, pens, or craftwork. They also wouldn't be allowed to talk, exercise, or sleep. Miao installed two cameras inside the studio to monitor guest activity and ensure that no one violated the rules... (Anyone else think of Ai Weiwei's jail cell?) Those who failed to abide by the mandates would lose their $100 deposit fee. Sounds like an interesting psychological experiment, right? It gets better.
Image via Animal New York
A few hours after Hyperallergic first discovered Miao's listing, Airbnb removed his listing from the website. Eventually, a representative at Airbnb sent the artist an explanation: "I am writing to respectfully inform you that, at this time, any listings whose purpose is other than accommodation cannot be supported on our platform ... While we cannot support the leasing of such non-accommodations on our site, we do welcome you to list other, approved spaces."
Miao has responded and argued that although his jail cage is an experiment, it is also an accommodation. Just like a hotel room, the cage included a "bed, heating, air conditioning, refrigerator, a private full bathroom with shower within the same space," he wrote in a response he shared with Hyperallergic.
Does Miao have a point? Should his jail cage have remained on Airbnb? Weigh in below. Those interested in staying inside Miao's cage, stay tuned. The artist is working on a way for prospective guests to book the cage, Miao wrote on his Facebook.