Sunday, May 27, 2012

Inside the EXPO Pavilions

Not surprisingly, the displays vary considerably between the pavilions, especially the international pavilions. Some are essentially playgrounds for children, while others address the maritime preservation theme in a very serious and significant way.
The Dutch Pavilion includes a very creative visual to demonstrate the impact of rising sea levels; the Swiss...yes I's not on the ocean...looks at water conservation in a very creative did the Danish Pavilion that was so well designed it was almost too well designed.

The Singapore Pavilion, as might be expected was superb and included many contributions from school children. I was surprised to learn the country must import some of its drinking water, and impressed to learn about its integrated solid waste management system.  The pavilion also offered the opportunity to take a bicycle ride through the streets of the city...very impressive. Kudos to Pavilion Director Bernard Tan and Pamela Shee who kindly showed me around.
The Climate and Environment Pavilion recreated the arctic in a very convincing fashion...

In the marine industry and technology building I was surprised to learn about research being undertaken to create biofuels, plastics and medical supplies from seaweed and other marine resources.
I was also impressed with a functioning desalination operation set up in the base of the SkyTower.
The German Pavilion had some excellent displays including one that created the sensation of walking on sand that was quite remarkable.
The Italian pavilion provided some wonderful interactive displays on the the various explorers who circumnavigated the world. However, it also featured the most poorly narrated video about any country I have ever watched. Instead of some animated Italian telling us about the delights of Italy, there is a monotonous North American voice is so bad you have to check it out if you attend the fair!

The Marine Civilization and Marine City Pavilion is wonderful and includes some clever models of future floating/underwater houses and cities.  I was fortunate to meet the lead designer...a creative guy in green sneakers who told me he and his team studies the literature on underwater cities in order to create the display. (Yes, he was sensitive about having a photo taken with someone so much taller!)  It is thought that it might be realistic to create such places by 2050 with water supplies provided through desalination, solar and biofuel (from seaweed) energy, etc..  While this seems fantastic, so did the first elevator, automobile and television...all of which were introduced as prototypes at previous World Expositions.

Many of the pavilions deal with the various threats to our environment.  As I watched yet another baby polar bear being separated from its mother by cracking ice flows, garbage being deposited on the ocean floor, and a turtle choking to death on a plastic bag in the United Arab Emirites Pavilion, I could not help but think this EXPO is going to transform the thinking of Koreans...especially the children...and make them much more environmentally aware.


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