The world of the future


Pages from the Official Souvenir Program for the Seattle World’s Fair, 1962. Very typical corporate design by RT Matthiesen and Associates but not bad for all that. The pages give an overview of the exposition, punctuated by ads from its sponsors, while the text sets forth the purpose of the event to give a taste of life in the new Space Age. NASA’s Project Mercury missions were ongoing during the time the fair was being planned so the ethos of the event was very much tied to the obsessions of the time, obsessions fuelled by Cold War competition, and a desire for an automated future. The technocratic side of things is very much in evidence in the booklet which trots out the usual utopian vision of life in “Century 21” as being one of short working-hours, a great deal of leisure, personal air-cars, and revolving houses. My childhood encyclopaedias were filled with this sort of thing which has only given me a lifelong suspicion of any kind of wild futurology, positive or negative. Those books were also filled with pictures of monorails, and the Seattle exposition had a monorail all of its own which I’m pleased to see is still running today.




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