I spent weeks at Expo 2017 Astana – here’s some final thoughts
I have already written at length about Expo 2017 Astana – so you can read that here at Kiwi.com Stories. But after a few weeks and a few thousand kilometres distance I thought I would have a quick think to see whether my ideas had softened. They haven’t.
It’s strange that the Kazakh government would invest millions and millions of dollars in a project that was meant to drive millions of tourists from overseas, and do it so badly. There was no one from overseas there at all, other than a few backpackers.
From the three foreign people I’ve talked to who actually visited for a day or two, two were very unimpressed and one kind of liked it. That’s not a stirring declaration for the organisation of fun by the Kazakh governent.
There were things that I liked. I thought that the attempts to basically explain global warming and how we may try to stop it were useful. I was able to connect with most of this, and even learned that Kazakhstan is attempting to build a working tokomak.
But, other than the Austrian pavilion, that’s pretty much all I liked. The main pavilion did look like a Death Star – how that got through the planning stage without someone commenting is beyond me.
Apparently, it’s a great skill to be able to build a perfectly spherical building. But it also seemed to rip off designs from previous Expos – particularly the Montreal Biosphère from Expo 67.
The whole of Expo 2017 Astana appears to have lacked ambition, while declaring that it was full of it – it seems to have concentrated on targeting the Kazakh market.
The declared point was to push Astana onto the world stage. However, I have a feeling that this was really internal propaganda. Many Kazakhs have not travelled, and cannot afford to. They will never have the opportunity to see how events like Expo 2017 can be pulled off brilliantly.
And that is, I think, why Kazakhstan built it. It was to show off their power internally, and not their greatness to the world.