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Latent Fictions: The Anticipation of World Fairs

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter

Published
Publication date2017
Host publicationHandbook of Anticipation: Theoretical and Applied Aspects of the Use of Future in Decision Making
EditorsRoberto Poli
PublisherSpringer
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9783319317373
ISBN (Print)Cham
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

World fairs anticipate the future. They are that rare occasion when countries around the world mobilise an important amount of resources to take part in an event the idea of which was first staged in 1851 in London. With a history that includes over 20 cities worldwide, the Expo has traced important developments around themes such as industrial progress, space travel, international peace and sustainable development. Each fair has had a motto, something that aimed to capture the zeitgeist of the time and, which, in equal measure, projected visions and ideas of that time into the future. This chapter explores the historical staging of specific visions of the future in four cities and times, namely, Paris 1900, Montreal 1967, Hannover 2000 and Shanghai 2010. We focus on the role that pavilions have played in the process of manufacturing and staging ‘latent fictions’ identifying who has been behind predominant views and in response to what kinds of interests. World fairs are one of those few, unique and powerful stages enticing publics into the prospect of a future that not only is latent, alive and in the making, but which, more importantly, has been prepared for us and is ready to arrive.