The New York Times has a regularly occurring section called Room For Debate, where they bring in knowledgeable people to discuss timely topics and events. In this case, they asked the following question:
Reinventing the World’s Fair, or Not. Is there a way to give the fairs of the past new life? And if so, what would they look like?
Chiming in to offer their opinions on the subject were the following experts:
- Dale Dougherty: Founder of Maker Media
- Robert Rydell: Professor of History at Montana State University
- Paul Greenhalgh: Director of the SCVA, Sainsbury Centre For Visual Arts
- Suzanne Fischer: Curator of History at the Oakland Museum of California
Each had their own interesting angle on the concept of a new World’s Fair. There was mention on where it should be geographically located, what it should include, and even a note that maybe we’re better off without the unethical treatment of people and animals that happened there. If you’ve ever been to a Maker Faire though, you’re probably already thinking the thoughts that Dale extrapolates in his response. Maker Faire is the perfect replacement for World’s Fair and it is already here.
It is important for us as a society to imagine the future, and the World’s Fair provided the context for doing so. But it is also vital to see ourselves participating actively in creating or making the future, and that’s what we believe Maker Faire is doing.
You should really take a moment to read each of their responses, and see the other parallels that Dale draws between the two events over at the New York Times.
Of course, if you’ve never been to a Maker Faire, it can be difficult to explain what an incredible experience it is. This video captures a moment from a single Maker Faire. Now imagine that there are Maker Faires happening all around the world, where people can see and create the future.
What are your thoughts? Is there a necessity for a new World’s Fair, or is it already here?