The first cities appeared in Mesopotamia and on the banks of the Nile more than 5,500 years ago; but cities are barely the age of our century. They are a recent and powerful phenomenon that imposes a new way of life. In fact, working, travelling, studying, resting, communicating, selling, buying and eating have nothing to do with the gestures of yesterday and the natural rhythm of the seasons or sunlight. The image of the deserted beach for oneself alone, as we sometimes see in advertising, belongs to a bygone era; tomorrow there will be even more cars, the Administration will be even more monstrous, more tentacular ...
In short, we are the freest and at the same time the most chained men of all times.
To deal with this theme, i.e. the technological revolution in the city, the Universal Exhibition Company had a conical pavilion built in the Cité du Havre, on the pier, facing the river, between the Habitat and the Labyrinth, the structure of which is a lattice of wooden beams from the Pacific coast. From the outside, the pavilion is perhaps reminiscent of the shape of Asian religious buildings, or of a rocket ship. From the inside, it looks like a capital that was erected in the earthly paradise.
Everything has been done in the pavilion of Man in the City to amuse you, perhaps to educate you, and certainly to help you become aware of the upheavals that are happening around us and that no one sees any more. For could you, closing your eyes, imagine a world without cities? The countryside, as far as the eye can see?
That was yesterday... Today cities are everywhere, even at the pole, enormous, teeming, attractive and repulsive at the same time. Tomorrow they will cover the earth: in twenty years or so, more than half of humanity will live in cities with at least a hundred thousand inhabitants.
We can understand the dream of this French countess who asked nicely why on earth cities were not built in the countryside...
For our city dwellers, agricultural civilisation is just a holiday memory.
What we do not readily admit is that we are living in the early years of a new civilisation, and that every day we have to deal with an unexpected situation, in our work, our private or family life, at school and even in our leisure time.
In the Man in the City pavilion, the Citérama, a kind of magic kaleidoscope that mathematically makes and breaks down before your eyes, Czech puppets, kinetic sculptures, diaspheres, an animated cartoon (Urbanissimo) or a farmer's love for the city, paintings, collages and caricatures, mannequins, visual and sound effects in turn tell the story of man in a landscape that he created: the City. The pavilion as a whole is made up of seven different shows that are short enough to allow us to see them all and then go on to visit other pavilions. These shows, these diverse and interesting elements, will make your visit to the Man in the City pavilion one of the most enjoyable moments of your life, one that you will remember for a very long time.
Man in the City is a pavilion not to be missed. Whatever your age, whatever your situation, the city and the technological revolution have unknowingly transformed your life: you are part of this human landscape which is perhaps the most astonishing product of our civilisation.
© Official Expo'67 Guide