In April of 1939 the New York World's Fair, "Building The World of Tomorrow," opened on what was once a marshy wasteland in Flushing Meadows, just east of the great metropolis. From its inception to its closing ceremonies, the Fair promoted one of the last great metanarratives of the Machine Age: the unqualified belief in science and technology as a means to economic prosperity and personal freedom. Wedged between the greatest economic disaster in America and the growing international tension that would result in World War II, The World of Tomorrow was a much-needed antidote to the depression and confusion of the times. It provided the one saving grace which all of America needed: it provided hope.
Part ideological construct, part trade show, part League of Nations, part amusement park, and part Utopian community, the Fair promoted its message of hope and prosperity with icons, symbols, exhibitions, and demonstrations. It was a literal laboratory for a group of industrial designers who considered themselves both artists and social theorists, and from the plan of the Fair's site to many of its prominent buildings, the Fair's primary stylistic vocabulary was that of the streamlined and Modern design which they helped establish. Nowhere was that design more apparent than in the Trylon and Perisphere, a 700-foot spire and an orb as wide as a city block, created to be the exposition's focal point. The Trylon and Perisphere remain forever linked with The World of Tomorrow; both loom as profound and problematic icons on the landscape of American culture.
The World of Tomorrow was a search for a useable Future (with a capital "F"), and while it added fuel to the fire of the American cultures of consumption and exclusion, it also provided a tangible vision of hope and prosperity in the face of uncertainty and confusion.
Welcome to the 1939 New York World's Fair! Welcome to Tomorrow!
A small video montage with a low-res compilation of sequences from the amateur movies belonging to the Collection "1939-40 New York World's Fair". Calling fair use for the soundtrack, performed by Tangerine Dream.
Montage and Editing by ROMANO-ARCHIVES.
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