Approaching the Expo
Submitted by daniel on Sun, 09/12/2010 - 00:55
Millions of Chinese citizens and international travelers make pilgrimages to the Expo to pay homage to China and fuel its nationalism. Some seek innovation, entertainment and novelty, and some attend for no other reason than to have gone. Perhaps it was just excellent marketing, advertisement, and a good brand name?
Since Shanghai was approved as the host-city in 2003, its residents have been inundated with marketing and advertisements for the Expo. The barrage of media is omnipresent in illuminated billboards, banners, posters, wall murals, giant LED screens, and pervasive televisions on subway cars, the sides of buildings and platforms. Moreover, the media's propaganda seeks to curb any uncivilized behavior from citizens such as hanging laundry out to dry, wearing pajamas in public, and the sight of unkempt people in dirty living spaces. Over 18,000 people have been displaced from their homes and development projects continue to level neighborhoods.
We have arrived at a time towards the tail end of the Expo. There are people on either side of the issue - some dislike the expo and think its been terrible for Shanghai citizens, and others are happy the boost its brought to local economies. At this point it is clear that the topic can be a sore subject for some people and as a result we treaded lightly in certain arenas. It is really incredible to see just how pervasive the Expo is in Shanghai. Many institutions are partnered with the Expo and events, lectures, and performances are happening throughout the city well beyond the Expo walls. Local and international journalists, news organizations, websites have covered many of the topics associated with the Expo. There are even hourly updates on the monitors of local buses that give accounts of how many people are currently in each section of the Expo. With so much information already present its hard not to sound redundant or feel like we've missed the boat on certain things. However, what we do have to offer is our unique insight and language as artist at a time when the Expo is supposed to peak with attendance. Shanghai and the Expo is teeming with kitch, absurdity, novelty and often surreality. We are heading into our most productive week on the ground where we will be collecting most of our documentation and experiences at the Expo. With an event so large its impossible to see everything even in a week. Just like the other visitors we have to come up with a way of deciding which pavilions to enter. Often rumors, propaganda and price tags are the most significant filters for people. We intend to follow suit and go where the people go, but also follow our own noses to some of the more unnoticed aspects of the Expo experience.
Faded Expo flyer:
Metro corridor lined with post-modern paintings:
These are Expo kiosks. found on street corners and inside metro stations, that try to recruit volunteers for the expo. I'm looking forward to trying to sign up.
Haibao images on metro ticket machines. I wonder if these guys have been to the expo yet.
Hold on to the Expo while your on the subway. Its safer that way.
Expo Wall murals/banners can go on literally forever.