Dubai diaries: Super cars and super knowledge at Expo installations


David Light

Published: Sun 7 Nov 2021, 12:36 PM

There are fewer phrases in the English language that have the ability to simultaneously terrify and intrigue quite like “art installation.” The dichotomous feelings such a cultural prospect throws up, as with all trepidatious sentiments, stem from fear. Fear you’ll be stuck in a room with no exits for hours while someone bleats on about why a single light bulb illuminating an empty white room represents their less-than-ideal childhood. Fear that you’ll be the only one who actually shows up to the grand reveal and have to console the creator as they gently weep through their spiel. And perhaps worst of all, after you have made it through, fear there’ll be no gift shop. Like most apprehension the anxiety is usually unfounded: a point made ever clearer each day by Expo 2020 Dubai.

If you are yet to visit the World’s Greatest Show, you’ll still probably be aware of the permanent exhibitions each pavilion is serving up. Tours of the various countries’ past, present and future, these go pretty much as expected – fascinating glimpses into the intricate fabric woven to create the modern nation. What may have skipped your attention, however, is most if not all put on rotating installations each with specific themes. For example at the end of the month the Russian Pavilion will be going literal and dedicating two days to free language lessons. On November 28 and 29, students of any age and skill level will be able to follow an interactive, entertaining study session. Being a car nut, the activity which caught my eye, though, involved the home of the sports vehicle (and super food), Italy.

One of the automotive world’s crown jewels, Maserati by its very nature represents some of its motherland’s core values: passion, innovation and beauty. The exhibition “Maserati: a story of luxury performance supercharged” created by the Centro Stile Maserati only proved these attributes with aplomb. In the centre a MC20 vehicle, presented as an artistic concept, was embodied by a series of three-dimensional metal objets d’art. The pieces, varying in colour from natural aluminium through to copper and the keynote shade ‘Folgore’ (a nod to Maserati’s strategy for electrification), evoked the marque’s focus on the future. Two showcases on sustainability, not just of the engines but also the materials such as Econyl used in the vehicles’ development illustrated Italian biodiversity and also proved very interesting. So if instillations up for grabs can entertain and educate this petrol head dinosaur about the benefits of battery-powered transport, there will be something out there for you too. And yes, there are loads of gift shops.

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