Monday, March 30, 2015

Milan 2015: What are World Expos For?

Moshde Safdie's 1967 Montreal Expo Habitat  (from uncube #32)
The new edition of uncube asks some provocative questions about World Fairs and revisits whimsically the old ones.

Here is how they announce their newsletter #32:

With Expo 2015 in Milan only weeks away, uncube issue No. 32: Expotecture takes stock of what’s so weird, wonderful and plain warped about World’s Fairs, including an exclusive interview with Jacques Herzog of Herzog & de Meuron about why he feels his masterplan concept for this year’s Expo was compromised.
Since the construction of the Crystal Palace in 1851, Expos have become both home and birthplace of the “just because we can” school of architecture – synonymous with progress and humanity’s obsession with its own importance. What began as a glorified industrial age trade fair has transitioned into one of those giant, multi-billion dollar temporary world spectacles that nobody quite remembers the reason for. 
So for this issue we invite an illustrious set of authors to take us on a fascinating journey through past Expos packed with tales of propaganda, politics, nationalism and show-stopping spectacle; fairs drunk with idealistic utopianism and visions of the future, followed by the hangovers that kick in after.
It’s Expo time – remind us why again?
Out now: uncube magazine No. 32: Expotecture 

In an interview Jacques Herzog of Herzog de Meuron reveals what happened to their original masterplan (see below):
So what happened to your masterplan?
It became the official basis for the Expo in Milan - yet only as an urbanistic and formal pattern, not as an intellectual concept. The tent roofs we proposed are now covering the main boulevard in front of the national pavilions, which seems an absurd reversing of our ideas. As I said, we are not involved in the realisation of the Expo anymore. From what I have heard about the coming pavilions and concepts, it seems that this Expo will be the same kind of vanity fair that we’ve seen in the past. 
»Most of all we have to overcome this ridiculous system of national pride represented by individual pavilion design«
Klaus Philipsen, FAIA
See also my blog article about the "History of the Future" dealing with futuristic visions and how they have fared. 

uncube #32

It is more of a coincidence that this uncube cartoon done by a Klaus matches up so well with my blog article about futurism on occasion of the exhibit "History of the Future").

"The Future was Yesterday",  by uncube cartoonist Klaus
Herzog & deMeuron masterplan for Milan Expo 2015: uncube interview with Jacques Herzog

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