S. Worthen (owlfish) wrote,
S. Worthen

Southbank Favela

I went down to Southank today, to meet swisstone for lunch. As a result, I have experienced the singing lift in Royal Festival Hall, in which a recorded choir mark the rising and falling of the elevator with steady increases or decreases in their notes, singing the name of the floor at the same pitch when the doors open. They could barely squeak out "level 6".

Down around level 2, on the first balcony level, outside Royal Festival Hall, was an art installation drawing attention to Brazil's favelas. On the one hand, it's important that such a massive situation as Brazil's enormous slums have attention paid to them. On the other, it was a little unexpected as part of a festival of Brazil in London. Is it helpful? Is it a cultural statement? Is it appropriative? Is it useful to draw parallels between London and favelas in the form of an art installation, that there is poverty at home as well as abroad? Does this trivialize the mind-boggling scale of the favelas? That there is a standard word for the slums in a particular country which I have known for years shows just how endemic the problem is.

I'm still not sure what to think, but here are some photos.

London Eye and Big Ben Clock Tower in the Southbank Favela
The real London Eye towers over the Southbank favela

Bonus: Finally trying out Canteen, the up-and-coming little restaurant chain aiming to serve good classic British food. The fennel, tomato, and basil pie special was good, especially because I like fennel and the mashed potatoes very smooth, but very much real potato. It's a semi-fast food concept, as was evident by how much we needed to fit into their ordering process. After turning down dessert, our placemat/menus were taken away so we wouldn't have a chance to change our minds.
Tags: eating in london, food, london

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