The City is Ours at the Museum of London review: A fascinating insight into the minutiae of urban life

Jess Lester
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The City is Ours

Originally displayed at the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie in Paris, the Museum of London’s new bi-lingual exhibition The City is Ours is a sensory journey through urbanisation, encapsulating the rather bleak essence of life in the megalopolis. It sets out to teach visitors about initiatives that both governments and individuals can involve themselves with to combat the challenges of such metropolitan growth.

Spread across three galleries, the free exhibition meanders through the museum’s core, each room offering a variety of interactive displays. There’s an virtual reality headset that places the wearer on the precipice of a Hong Kong sky-scraper; a computerised table mapping 25 London-based initiatives trying to improve the city, featuring QR codes directing you to their websites; and an audio installation that translates the mobile communication bleeps and clicks recorded during the Je Suis Charlie rally into unique melodies.

Each thematic sector is distinguished by subtle aesthetic changes, harnessing light, space and sound to promote reflection on the relevant ‘pods’ of information.

The pièce de résistance is an unmissable 12 minute, nine metre-wide film, aptly named Urban Earth, visualising data that compares contemporary issues from major cities around the world. Perfectly captured in the film, and supported by a range of absorbing articles, The City is Ours offers a fascinating insight into the minutiae of urban life, showing why it should matter to us all.

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