The rain in Spain

When Expos meet austerity: What does Milan gain by hosting this bloated global extravaganza?. ‘Because, ultimately, surely the only point of visiting an Expo is to marvel, drop-jawed with morbid fascination, at the bizarre architectural freak-show, and be entranced by the same sense of contemptuous captivation that comes from watching the Eurovision Song Contest. It is a spectacular mess, but it’s also fascinating to see national ambitions embodied, side by side, in a line-up of skin-deep architectural flourishes. But then you’re rudely awaken out of your kitsch reverie by remembering quite what will be left, and at what cost it all came.’ Every time a world expo rolls around, the same questions and criticisms resurface – budget overruns, architectural hubris, excessive corporate collusion and the inevitable corruption, disruption and pollution that are the immediate legacy of a multi-billion dollar building programme involving countless cultures, agendas and actors. It’s too soon for the end results to have ruin value beyond that of cultural curiosity, as these images of the aftermath of Seville 92 demonstrate.

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