Expo 2020 Dubai will finally open one year late on Oct. 1 as one of the first global events since worldwide lockdowns.
The year 2020 remains stamped in the expo logo, and that prompts some reflection on how expos craft the future. Since the earliest exhibitions, expos have sought to express that technology can bring the world closer together. In 19th-century expo stagings in Europe, this was mostly a spatial pursuit. Most visitors had never ventured far from home. For them, an expo offered a compressed, if inaccurate, world tour. At the 1889 expo in Paris, for example, one could cross the street from a simulation of Japan to one of Morocco and then enter Egypt before heading to Iran.