Universal Exhibitions in History. Communicating Modernity
A history of accelerations, interruptions, reflections, exchanges and discoveries. Since their beginning in London 1851, World Exhibitions have embodied the spirit of their time: from the technological progress of the industrial era to the concern for sustainable development in a globalized world.
The vitality of Expos during the years has never been denied: Shanghai 2010, Yeosu 2012 and Milan 2015 are the next steps of this extraordinary path under the auspices of the International Exhibitions Bureau (BIE). This intergovernmental organization, representing the international community in the domain of Universal Exhibitions, is the depositary of this endless experience since its creation in Paris, 1928. Today, World Expos offer to States, experts and civil society a unique dialogue platform. These festive angoras’ respond to pressing global issues by promoting a fruitful exchange of experiences and best practices.
Thanks to their role as a cultural crossroads, these events contribute to strengthen cooperation between regions. Ephemeral worlds, Expos leave their visual mark on cities’ architecture and enrich the cultural and intellectual heritage of future generations. Expos are effective means of reflection and action to deal with sustainable development. The travelling exposition Expo x Expos, organised and promoted by the International Exhibitions Bureau in collaboration with Victoria & Albert Museum, is aimed to illustrate and gather the best of this history whose fragments are scattered across the host cities’ memory. In the same way, Expo x Expos will offer the public a genuine invitation to travel, thus raising awareness of the Expos’ schedule and themes. This particular approach, simultaneously thematic and chronological, will develop the exhibition around three levels of interpretation.
The first level, which is informative and reflective, will be called “Meeting spaces for Humanity” illustrating the Expos’ raison d’être and conceptual evolution by a series of images and texts, will also demonstrate their positive force and impact on the society that hosts them.
The second level, that of the spectacular and dramatic, bears the name “Witnesses of their Times” and will focus on the close relationship between Expos and socio-political history of their time. Visitors will thus be able to enter the “time machine” and be transported into a kaleidoscope of images where visions of past blend with pictures of future Expos as Shanghai 2010 and Yeosu 2012.
The third and final level, the iconic level, will be composed of “time capsules”; sculptures representing multiple buildings and objects that made the history of the Expo and modified the landscapes of the world and the habits of their citizens.
The concept behind these objects comes from 1939 New York Expo with the burial of a "time capsule" containing a number of items conceived to let future generations to comprehend the world of 20th century. This experience, torn between utopia and reality, reflects once again the value of Expos as prisms of their time.
more information: www.expoxexpo.com