Monday, 7 September 2009

Oriente


I left my soul in Oriente, the furthest stop on the red metro line in Lisbon. I have never before been tempted by science fiction landscapes, but in Oriente I saw a high tech future that did not look threatening at all. The Park of Nations at the shoreline was the kind of landscape that automatically calmed people down, and the acoustics was so designed that one mainly heard the cries of seabirds. Somehow the noise of traffic was eliminated.

I hope not to bore anyone in this blog about the technical details of the construction of the place - actually that side doesn't interest me either, but I am interested in the soul food aspect.

And the political aspect: building beautiful places for all people to enjoy, without charging fees, is a socialist cornerstone. There was of course a high-tech mall at Oriente station, but after seeing the sublime park the mall didn't depress me. The antithesis of socialist architecture is a mall that has plenty of Securitas guys monitoring that no-one takes photos or distributes illicit leaflets.

During four days in Lisbon I had a feeling that the city was quite tolerant of activists. And the feeling of being constantly under surveillance was not there.

After Oriente, I have become a fan of water sculptures. You can say so much more in a fountain than in an academic thesis.

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