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Sunday, 11 September 2016

M E T R O P O L I S

 


There are 2 places in London that remind me of some of the sets in Fritz Lang's film "Metropolis" (1927): the common parts (vestibules etc) of the Barbican Centre and the escalator hall of Westminster Underground Station ( rebuilt in 1999).

At Westminster there is an interchange between the Jubilee Line and the Circle/District Lines. The sub-surface Circle/District lines are separated from the far deeper Jubilee Line by a series of ecalators. The latter are housed in a huge concrete lined space. The whole ensemble is grey and gloomy, lit by lights that both illuminate and at the same time emphasise the gloomy nature of this futuristic collection of escalators, steel tubes, and other structural elements. I use the word 'futuristic' with reservation as this place resembles, as already mentioned, the sets of a film made back in 1927.

Full of human life, this interconnecting hall is rather inhuman - a collection of machines for moving hordes of people from A to B. It reminds me of factory assembly lines. Worth visiting because it is an extrordinary visual and psychological experience - and because it helps you to travel through the metropolis.


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