When Dubai Came to London: The McDonaldisation of Kensington?

Asad Yawar – the Creative Director & CSO of Mediolana – continues his rising trajectory as an emerging video artist with a melancholic piece that captures the paradoxical desolation of New Year’s Eve 2014 in London, England. Dubai Comes to London: The McDonaldisation of Kensington focuses on 375 Kensington High Street, a complex of luxury apartments presently being constructed at the western end of one of the Queen of England’s most famous highways. The vantage point for the film is the lower deck of a number 9 bus – one of a handful of routes featuring the iconic New Bus for London – from which the videographer gazes at the building site across the road. The less-than-capacious floor heights of the new block are quite noticeable even at this distance, with many hundreds of thousands of pounds not enough to transcend this particular architectural trend. As the bus moves off, a ‘tear’ can clearly be seen streaking the bus window as the older, more generous architecture comes into view. While capital flows from the Gulf Cooperation Council are making headlines in the form of marquee projects such as the Qatar-owned Shard, a host of less famous projects are rapidly altering the character of this most international of international cities, with seemingly few questions being asked about whether the new architectural forms are engendering a sense of dislocation.

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2 Comments

Filed under Psychology, Technology, Urban Life

2 responses to “When Dubai Came to London: The McDonaldisation of Kensington?

  1. Mediolana makes a valid point, but how can we all participate in decision-making about architecture in our cities or the designs of individual buildings? What is noticeable is the level of commentary your video needed. How many people would have noticed the issues you were raising based only on the video? The wage-slave has been replaced by the complexity-slave and the limited-concentration-slave as we all diffuse our energies on work, dysfunctional relationships and other distractions. The only suggestion that comes to mind is somehow gamifying decision-making in our democracy so that people can participate in society through their playstations and Xboxes.

    • Gamification is now being seriously discussed as a way of involving people in democratic processes; it just seems to be a shame that the idea of being an active citizen seems to have been significantly weakened to the extent that we have to make it into some kind of entertainment to try and get anyone interested in it.

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