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performance

Fiona Banner’s Heart of Darkness

Fiona Banner, A Room for London, 2012, mixed media. Facsimile of the Roi des Belges on the roof of Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, London. Photo: Charles Hosea.

IF YOU CROSS London’s Waterloo Bridge heading south, you will see the familiar complex of large buildings that make up the Southbank Centre—the Royal Festival Hall, the National Theatre, the Hayward Gallery. To the right you will see the more recent gigantic wheel of the London Eye. And currently, perched on the roof of a convenient concert hall, you will see what looks like a new, small, stranded houseboat. It is a sort of houseboat, but it isn’t stranded. It has been designed (by the artist Fiona Banner and the architect David Kohn) to float there for a while. It is modeled on a Belgian river steamer called the Roi des Belges, once captained by Joseph Conrad in the Congo before he mythologized boat, river, Africa, and all in Heart of Darkness (1902). There are some good pictures of the boat on the website for A Room for London, which is the title of the overarching project

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