2018/10/03: It is no accident that the global reach of World’s Fairs began in the age of empire. The Great Exhibition, of Victorian London, boasted of “Works of Industry of All Nations,” whether that meant gifts from client regimes or items forcibly extracted. Often, this meant people.
One notable aspect to recent Expo shifts—not unlike that of recent Olympics—is the move from liberal democracies to more authoritarian governments. Setting aside the considerable human rights issues with these regimes, the actual processes of establishing World’s Fairs have exacted a heavy toll from parts of their societies. The Chinese government reputedly displaced 18,000 households to provide space for the Shanghai Expo, with Amnesty International highlighting the repression of female anti-eviction activists. Dubai and Kazakhstan have been similarly condemned for autocratic rule, humanitarian abuses, and corruption.
Where fairs were genuinely prescient was in the rise of consumerism, mass communication, and electronics—the aforementioned New York World’s Fair of 1964 had, for example, a Saarinen and Eames’ designed IBM Pavilion, with its giant “ovoid theater” egg, while General Motors resurrected their Futurama from 1939. Multinationals were gradually eclipsing states, just as nostalgic and profitable retrofutures were gradually eclipsing utopian visions of progress.
It could be said that the biennales, design capitals, conferences, and conventions seen today in a multitude of fields are descendants and usurpers of the World’s Fair. The communications, computing, and media technologies which Expos first showcased to the world, from the Babbage Analytical Engine to the projector, would gradually overshadow them.
Perhaps it is time to host World’s Fairs, not with noble platitudes in sparkling metropolises, but in the places facing impending catastrophe. There are potential host cities like Jakarta and Bangkok that are sinking and flooding. Cities like Lagos, Dar es Salaam, and Kinshasa that face population explosions and infrastructure implosions. There are cities where the water is running out like Cape Town, São Paulo, and Bangalore. World’s Fairs could take place in any of the nine Indian cities that dominate the top 10 worst for global air pollution. Or they could be hosted in the Siberian cities at risk from melting permafrost like Salekhard, Norilsk, and Anadyr.
Appropriarsi di elementi di culture lontane dalla propria è problematico perché può essere irrispettoso. Ma non c'è una soluzione, soprattutto in epoca di globalizzazione degli stili. di Enrico Pitzianti Un po' di giorni fa, aprendo Facebook, leggo uno status di Hamishi Farah, artista australiano di origini somale che ho conosciuto in Australia qualche anno fa. Diceva: "My ex housemate Nai Palm (of Hiatus Kaiyote) is the neo soul Iggy Azalea & supportingLeggi Articolo
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