Expo 2010 in Shanghai, first glimpse

The world expo of 2010 in Shanghai has only been open for a week. I thought it would be a good idea to come here while everything is fresh and while the weather is not too hot. Yesterday it was raining, today the weather was fine. Those who visit later on may have the benefit of functionaires and voluntaires actually understanding what you say when you try to pronounce YAO-HUA, the name of the nearest subway station, from which most visitors arrive. Today the nice and friendly functionaire had to bring a colleague to make sense of what I whas trying to say. Yao-hua… YAO-HUA!  In August they will have heard all possible variations… Well, anyway…

This picture was taken today 2010 05 10, at Expo 2010 in Shanghai. From left to right, the German, Italian, Brittish and French pavillion.

It may seem like the pavillions can be devided into two major groups: those reinforcing the cliché of the country in question, and those trying to break that cliché. Here is Egypt, trying to break with their cliché (having a pavillion outside the African pavillion as a first step):

And here, outside the Swedish pavillion is the compulsory ”dala häst”, decorated wooden horse from the region of Dalarna, as a Swedish international ”brasklapp”. (You will have to check for yourself what a brasklapp actually is historically, but in daily life it’s like ”a voucher for limitation of responsability”, obviously another word for Sweden to export, along ”smorgasbord” and ”ombudsman”)

The pavillion in itself, with the headline ”The spirit of Innovation” was actually quite inspiring, but since we so often come back to the notion of putting out dala horses as a last resort I cannot help showing this picture. More serious pictures from the beautiful Swedish pavillion will come soon!

The Argentinian pavillion was based on tango and steaks; who could have guessed that? But the expensive, worth every penny steak I had in their restaurant kept me going for the rest of the day like a Duracell battery powered rabbit. Thank you Argentina.

But there are also other approaches, and for example I like the self confident approach of the pavillion of the United Kingdom. The whole pavillion is a ball of fibre optics that lead light into the inner room. At the end of each fibre optic sprout, there is a grain, the whole thing summing up as a poetic celebration of life, far from the everyday issues and national attempts to sell on a certain USP.

Another radical and poetic example is the Danish pavillion. You may question the judgment of transporting one of the primary national objects, the little mermaid, to foreign China, but the whole pavillion is very ”naked”, strong on concept and expression, with a reduced amount of babbeling information that no one would care about anyway.

More pictures coming soon!

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