Lusail, Lego-city of the gods and one of the world’s oddest places

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By Creative Media News

It has been neglected amid so many other pressing matters, but the state of Qatar is today confronted with a delicate existential dilemma. Here is even more mind-boggling detail regarding this location. According to climate experts, Qatar will no longer be suitable for human habitation by 2070. What the what?

Qatar, situated between two oceans and devoid of vegetation and streams, is warming at an alarming rate. Qatar produces more carbon per capita for export and internal consumption than any other country.

Here is a location that is essentially sitting on a pile of gold while biting off its legs. The end of all things? It appears on the list. Your interest has been noted by the Supreme Committee.

Lusail, lego-city of the gods and one of the world's oddest places
Lusail, lego-city of the gods and one of the world's oddest places

It appears that the solution is to create new planets. Welcome to Lusail, the Lego city of the gods, the site of Qatar’s World Cup final in three weeks, and indisputably one of the most peculiar places on earth.

There is a broad sensation of pastiche, of castles produced out of thin air, when walking about Doha. Andy Warhol would adore this location and would likely remark that all the most authentic things are fake-real or real-fake.

Strangest places on earth
Lusail, lego-city of the gods and one of the world's oddest places

And Warhol would enjoy Lusail the best, a $45bn (£37bn) plastic city constructed for a fictitious population, a sort of super-Croydon made by the god of fire.

This is a planned metropolis, constructed from the ground up and colored with a mocking sense of humor. Lusail has a duplicate Place Vendôme. Lusail has a Beverly Hills imitation (still under construction). There is a faux Champs-Élysées and a false Rimini immediately south of Entertainment Island, past Entertainment Island (opening date TBC).

Lusail also explains a few things if you look at it for long enough. First, we will examine why Qatar is hosting the World Cup in the first place. And, more specifically, why Qatar, despite its mind-bogglingly modern dictatorship, should not be viewed as a different and separate universe.

Lusail, lego-city of the gods and one of the world's oddest places
Lusail, lego-city of the gods and one of the world's oddest places

There is no parallel universe. Come to the lovely city of Lusail to discover something that is, in many ways, very familiar. First, however, is the shock of the future.

Walking into town past the Iconic Stadium, the site of the World Cup final, you follow Lusail Boulevard, a conduit to the city’s core. During World Cup week, it is populated by a trickle of awestruck tourists, a mixture of Saudis, locals, and football-shirted huddles, with a faint sensation of some frontier adventure by train, like astronauts discovering the Eiffel Tower on an alien beach.

The Boulevard is a marvel, a large, dazzling boulevard of flawless surfaces, electrified with sound and light, modeled after the Champs-Élysées, but the Champs-Élysées as envisioned by Kraftwerk members in a trance.

Here is a large colonnade with a glossy appearance. On both sides, towering mirrored structures may be seen. At its conclusion, towering golden pepper mills are erected because, well, why not?

Someone who wishes to travel in a shiny motorized wild-west carriage is greeted by gleaming motorized wild-west carriages. Here is a colossal, pristine Chuck-E-Cheese that is both alluringly illuminated and sealed, the only indication of life in an organized row of rat traps.

It is a perfect cityscape, but after approximately 50 meters it gets almost painful a sensory overload. The piped music cannot be avoided. Massive scrolling screens have Stalinist proportions. Neymar views commercials. And as you continue to suffer in this urban TikTok world, something else continues to occur.

Your ankles are frozen by the chilly air that rushes up through the cracks in the concrete. Obviously. The Lusail city government is forcibly chilling the streets. This is how humanity will combat global warming. Rotate the dial. Let’s condition the entire planet.

A fire will break out in one of the towers of Lusail late Saturday morning, sending a plume of black smoke into the sky. It appears that the future is on fire. However, do not glance up. Enjoy the extravagant gift. According to the Qatar 2022 Supreme Delivery Committee, the time is now.

And later that evening, while rushing through the marbled esplanade towards the Winter Wonderland lights, a machine voice can be heard emanating from a concealed grill. “Please return.

You have left the permitted area. Please remain inside the permitted area.” It is a valid and well-made statement. We are a considerable distance from the permitted zone. Invigorated by Qatar’s despot-football Universe Cup, a new world is being constructed. However, who?

The official version of Lusail is more straightforward and rational. In 2005, Qatar unveiled the initial ideas for this location, describing it as “a sustainable lifestyle and community… a refuge that will lure the world in the coming years.”

It is nearly complete, wrapping around what was formerly an empty bay, from The Iconic at one end to the marina, the esplanade, the artificial islands, and the distant domes of Paris.

Foreigners can purchase (very costly) Qatari real estate in Lusail, typically on a 99-year lease. It will eventually be home to 450,000 people, including 250,000 privileged residents and 200,000 service personnel and laborers.

Lusail is constructing 36 new schools, a giraffe zoo, water parks, and promenades, the majority of which are supposed to mimic the old world, creating a post-modern Milton Keynes for the ultra-wealthy.

It is also aesthetically pleasing and filled with grandiose imaginative design. In the distance, the shape of a massive metal whale shark sculpture suspended by thin steel cables floats above the boulevard.

The gigantic shark in the sky represents Qatar’s unwavering dedication to preserving animals and the ecosystem. It hovers, dreamlike, beautiful, and threatening.

And at the end of the boulevard, there are other pathways and genres. At the end of the boulevard, a surprisingly talented Elvis impersonator is serenading a small gathering of street cleaners and tourists about the dangers of stepping on his blue suede shoes.

Elvis declares, “Mmmmthangyverrymuch” before launching into a sumptuous, delectably melodic rendition of It’s Now Or Never, those fat, luscious minor chords filling the void.

A ziggurat-like structure composed of colossal Rubik’s cubes and surrounded by enormous white swing pods may be found further down. Every surface is illuminated by a reddish-blue light, and the heat from the water is gentle. A mountainous roller coaster is being constructed across the bay.

New and crisp football flags stand upright. I Heart Qatar is carved into a World Cup sign. You feel the pull of the sweet, sweet, sports-washing as your senses flood and you begin to swoon.

Over the desolate bay, Lusail Proper may be seen. There are cars and people on the walkways, albeit the majority appear to be serving nonexistent individuals. Open-top, stretch limos, à la Bugsy Malone, are idling.

Five police officers whistle at a single jaywalker. The lampposts transform into wrought iron curlicues. And a change occurs when entering the Vendôme through massive sliding doors beneath golden faux-stone buttresses.

This is merely another entry point into the world of luxury shopping. The corridors are guarded by security teams. Its central fountains are surrounded by upscale restaurants. As the sun sets, golden lights illuminate this area.

It is very unbelievable, Habibi. There are only beautiful things to look forward to, reads a big statement on one wall. An uplifting concept. But is it valid?

Because this is also disturbing. Wealth and life exist here, but there is also a sense of a sealed realm, an arc in the desert on a planet with eight billion inhabitants. The term “sustainable” is frequently used in the public literature of Lusail, which is an intriguing concept. And now I am Death: the architect of large and aesthetically pleasing shopping malls.

And sure, mortality does appear frequently in this area. A sign outside the Yacht Club tram station on the bay states, “Football is a culture of peace and human rights.” Next to it is a 24-hour telephone number for the National Human Rights Committee of Qatar.

It is tempting to dial the number. “Hello? This appears to be the NHRC. I would like to report the unreported deaths of as many as 6,500 migrant laborers… Er… Hello…?”

The World Cup development in Qatar is an engineering marvel. However, there is also a miracle of guilt. As night falls along the illuminated coastline, the loudest sounds emanate from the interior of a shadowy skeleton tower. Is it collapsing? No.

This is the sound of people working, hammering panels and precast blocks together, accompanied by an abundance of human excrement. The migrant workers haunt this location, as ghosts at the feast and shadows in Qatar’s gleaming stadiums.

Very few things have ever been constructed without human suffering of this size and at this rate. Gianni Infantino, the president of Fifa, would like us to examine three thousand years (is this right?) of European colonization before even contemplating unionized rights and working safety requirements for individuals constructing an unnecessary vanity project right now.

It is the gibberish of a despot’s glove puppet. Infantino used his opening World Cup speech to criticize the power-hungry elites in service of his power-hungry elite. His every public remark is like having walnut oil, amour propre, and corporate lies aggressively injected into both ears.

Nevertheless, Infantino’s line of half-thought does contain a kernel of truth. Taking into account the corruption at its source, the restrictive rules of its host nation, and the folly of its basic existence, there is a strong sense at this World Cup of merely shouting and pointing at something obscure.

And just as Lusail is designed to be shocking, the othering of Qatar should be resisted. If you listen properly, you may discern a kind of clarity in its most severe sounds.

It is difficult not to be impressed by this new metropolis and to like it. Someone must create something novel. Why can’t we do this? And novelty is always odd. In addition, the rapid expansion of Lusail and this World Cup is the result of security concerns.

This playground for the world’s wealthy is also a deterrent against regional power ambitions. Until recently, Qatar was a tiny dot on the map with the third greatest energy reserves in the world.

Football, athletics, investment, and the construction of Lusail. This is about engaging with the world, not so much to be liked but to be respected, as a player. Fifa has arrived on-site. Qatar has the highest visibility.

And beyond that, Qatar is not a state populated by a different species of human when viewed in a broader context. In reality, it may be best viewed as a highly literal and efficient representation of the forces at work in every other contemporary state.

Qatar is simply more untamed, more obstinate, and without remorse. It is a reductio ad absurdum of the concept of immensely affluent overlords, the surveillance state, a laboring underclass, progressively harsh laws, and global carbon addiction.

Do any of these phrases ring a bell? In many ways, Qatar is like your very capable and efficient younger colleague, who has essentially observed this, learned the customs, and declared, “Sure, we can do that.”

So Qatar improvises its Venice and Paris, cramming a century’s worth of development into a decade, without the cultural flora and fauna to conceal its workings. The same is now occurring with the World Cup.

We may have one of those, then. It is going to be enormous. Just like yours. This is the message of Lusail and the massive, echoing Iconic Stadium, a type of future warning. This is Winter Wonderland.

At the mouth of the bay, the lights fade into the water. Huge, gleaming automobiles crawl along the two-lane roadway and then turn around. This neighborhood is not deserted.

There is a World Cup industry here, as well as early settlers, native joggers, and tourists enjoying the dreamlike sheen of this coastal Narnia. As the land ends beyond Wonderland, the scooter’s motor turns off, having exceeded its range. Please return. You are out of your element.

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