Over a Century of Change

Staff: an artificial stone used for covering and ornamenting buildings. The temporary properties of staff that covered the hastily constructed buildings of the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair inspired my exploration of the utopian and dystopian themes that are the underlying structure of such a fair. Through this project I explored the questions: what if the world’s fair was to return to St. Louis in 2012 and would it have progressed. Historically world’s fairs are used to showcase the progress of technology, by showcasing such inventions as the tabletop stove, dishwasher, and even cotton candy. The issues that affect present day St. Louis have changed, but the city has not progressed forward.

I found that the representation of the fairs on posters were the most significant indication between the conflict of utopia and dystopia. The imagery on these posters highlight the cliches of innovation and a utopian future. Yet the fairs were actually held in temporary buildings constructed out of plaster and hemp thus, displaying the dystopian reality. I found that the medium of a poster was effective in portraying the truth of dystopia in a society that pretends to be a utopia.

Have a great winter break and spring semester everyone!!

-Dara Katzenstein


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