Sunday, May 17, 2009

In 2008, Beijing Hosted the Olympics...

...In 2009, China Celebrates China...
(Good and Bad)

...In 2010, It’s Shanghai’s Turn.

From May 1st to October 31st 2010 Shanghai will host the Expo 2010. 185 countries and 46 international organizations have confirmed their participation.

After “One World, One Dream” for the Beijing 2008 Olympics it’s “Better City, Better Life” for the Shanghai 2010 Expo, and let’s not forget the emblem and the mascot!
The emblem, depicting image of three people (you, me, him/he) holding hands together symbolizes the big family of mankind:
Created from a Chinese character meaning people (人- ren), the mascot "Haibao" embodies the character of Chinese culture:
France was the first country to respond positively to China’s invitation and was allocated a prime 6,000m² riverbank location alongside the other European pavilions. The French government has allocated a record 50 million euros (552 million yuan) budget for the national pavilion (Half from the government and half from private businesses). "As far as I know, it is the highest among all participants," said Xu Bo, director of the International Participation Department of the Bureau of World Expo. Skeptics will say that they are trying to redeem themselves and it’s an opportunity to reinforce France's image in China. Thanks to the generosity of the Orsay Museum, 7 great masterpieces of French art will be exhibited in the French Pavilion: “L'Angelus” by Millet, “Le Balcon” by Manet, “La salle de danse à Arles” by Van Gogh, “la Femme à la cafetière” by Cézanne, “La loge” de Bonnard, also said “Le Repas” by Gauguin and “L'age de bronze” by Rodin. It is the first time that France offer to China these masterpieces which have never been displayed together abroad.

About the US pavilion now:
If Expo 2010 were being held anywhere else – say, Amsterdam – there wouldn’t be any pressing need for a U.S presence. But just as the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair signaled the ascendance of the U.S. as a major industrial power, and the 1964 New York World’s Fair suggested U.S. technological superiority, 2010 seems primed to represent the rise of Chinese economic and political power in the 21st century. A no-show by the U.S. would convey as much about America’s diminished place in this new geopolitical order as does its ongoing run-up of Chinese-owned debt. The Chinese government, meanwhile, has indicated that a no-show might be taken as a snub. Though few Americans are paying attention now, come May 1, 2010, when the expo opens, surely many would wonder why the U.S. is not represented among the gleaming, architecturally significant pavilions on the Shanghai riverbanks. (The Atlantic)

To see the different pavilions… check here.
China that’s a given

France of course. Italy is one of my favorite. Poland is kind of funky. Switzerland took it to the next level. I like the simplicity of Israel, Denmark and Finland.
On the other hand I’m not feeling the apple from Romania or the funky “Happy Street” from the Netherlands. Even Norway participates!

Most of the pavilions will be dismantle

And now a little background check on World Fair (so you don’t have to!)
Universal Expositions are also known as World Fair and World's Fair? World's Fairs originated in the French tradition of national exhibitions, a tradition that culminated with the French Industrial Exposition of 1844 held in Paris. It was soon followed by other national exhibitions in continental Europe, and finally came to London where the first real international exhibition was held.

The first Expo was held in The Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London in 1851 under the title “Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations. The main attractions at World’s fairs are the national pavilions, created by participating countries. They usually last between three and six months

The world fair gave Paris its Eiffel Tower which was built for Exposition Universelle of 1889 (it served as the entrance arch of the fair and the fair was built on the Champs de Mars) and the first line of the Paris Metro also began operation to coincide with the Exposition of 1900 which also gave us Gare de Lyon, the Gare d’Orsay (now the Musée d’Orsay), the Pont Alexandre III, the Grand Palais, La Ruche and the Petit Palais.

Paris hosted the Fairs in 1855, 1867, 1878, 1889, 1900, in 1914 it was in Lyon, and the last one in France was in 1937.
The United States had them 18 times between 1876 and 1984 (twice in NY 1939 & 1964; twice in SF 1915 & 1940, twice in New Orleans 1884 & 1984, Chicago 1893 & 1933, and even in Omaha in 1898!). The last fair held in the US was the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition which was plagued with attendance problems and has the dubious distinction of being the only exposition to declare bankruptcy during its run

The next ones will be in South Korea (Yeosu) in 2012 and in Italy (Milan) in 2015.