The Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea opened on the Big-O floating stage on the sea in front of the New Port area in Yeosu City, Korea, on May 11 at 7:00 pm. With a big run of 93 days ahead, the festival’s opening ceremony was attended by approximately 2,400 major high-profile names, including President Lee Myung-bak, heads of states, BIE Secretary General Loscertales, heads of economic organizations, the CEOs of expo participants, and those who helped prepare for the expo.
As President Lee declared the event open, a cannon salute was fired into the night sky. The ceremony, which was the first ever to be held on the sea, was focused on sending a message about the theme of the expo.
The highlight of the opening event was the Big-O show. The event featured a laser show, a water fountain show on the sea, and a flame show. For the laser show, hologram images were projected onto the water screen of the huge O-shaped structure symbolizing the ocean.
93 Day Ocean Festival for the Sea
Under the theme “Living Ocean and Breathing Coast,” Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea will run for 93 days until August 12 in the New Port area.
The Yeosu expo will be attended by 104 countries, including 31 from Asia and Oceania and 26 from Africa, as well as 10 international organizations, such as the UN, OECD, and UNESCO.
The expo has significant meaning in that it will bring the value of the ocean and coast back into the international spotlight, as well as serve as an opportunity to address urgent issues facing Humanity, such as climate change, depleted natural resources, and the destroyed ecosystem.
In addition, the festival pursues an eco-friendly exposition for low-carbon, green growth. It is not a simple exhibition for technologies, but an environment exposition that offers solutions to climate change. It has enacted environment guidelines for the first time in the history of global expositions and established the expo site as a model city for low-carbon green growth.
The Yeosu Expo is also a ubiquitous exposition involving visitors. South Korea’s IT technologies, widely known as the best in the world, have been applied to everywhere in the site. The ubiquitous expo begins the moment a person books a ticket online. Visitors are allowed to access information on various exhibitions, traffic, accommodation, and sightseeing, not to mention reserve admission to an exhibition hall via the Internet and mobile phones. They can also visit the expo portal (www.expo2012.kr) to check the expo site through 3D virtual reality, as well as access various information. Visitors can also see state-of-the-art ocean technologies and equipment from around the world, as well as view a marine city of the future. Visitors can have a vivid experience of a marine ecosystem, creating the illusion of travelling under the oceans of the world in a submarine. Visitors can also learn about the history of humans who have challenged the sea.
Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea also pursues a cultural exposition of heart-moving impressions and experience. The expo features more than 8,000 culture performances and events, as well as 400 programs. These include new media variety shows on the Big-O stage, shows on the sea unique to the Yeosu Expo, distinctive culture performances of 105 foreign participants, K-POP performances starring idol groups, ocean festivals, local government performances, and the Ocean Film Festival. These shows will give visitors different and exciting experiences.
Visitors can enjoy all the cultures of 100 nations from around the world with one ticket priced at 33,000 won. Visitors can also taste traditional foods at the cafeterias of participating foreign countries.
During the expo, a wide range of academic conferences and participatory academic programs will be held under the theme of Various Seas. They include the second International Climate Change Symposium, the Global Oceans Conference 2012, the fourth general meeting for the Joint Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM), and the Fish Barcode of Life World Conference. The OECD International Symposium will also be held for four days from July 9 by the Yeosu Expo organizing committee.
Masterpieces of Yeosu Expo
The Big-O, the Expo Digital Gallery, the Sky Tower, and the aquarium are highly recommended as must-visits.
On the Big-O area, which was built by connecting breakwaters on the sea in front of the Yeosu New Port area with the land, stands a magnificent O-shaped structure measuring 35m in diameter. The O in Big-O is an initial for ocean, as well as zero that symbolizes the start towards the future.
Living Screen technology was used to make hologram images on the water fountain on the Big-O area for the first time in the world. The fountain show presents new spectacles, along with various multimedia special effects of the Big-O such as laser flames. The show has elicited exclamations from audience members.
The Sky Tower, which is the tallest vertical structure (67m) on the site, is a symbolic culture space built from an abandoned cement silo.
A giant pipe organ in the shape of a harp, and which is installed on the exterior of the Sky Tower, rings out to a radius of 6km. The Guinness Book of Records has recognized the musical instrument as the pipe organ producing the biggest sound in the world. The instrument has 80 scales, comparable to those of a piano. The live organ performance is offered in the square in front of the tower six times every day.
Silo No.1 is a theater showing the wonderful scenery of the southern coast of Korea. Silo No.2 has a desalination system that allows visitors to observe the desalination process and use filtered water. The top of the Sky Tower has an observation deck.
The Expo Digital Gallery, which is a digital street located on the expo main street, is a marine cultural and arts gallery based on cutting-edge IT technologies and lighting art.
At the facility, various video content (e.g. the Story of Four Gods, the Story of Shim Cheong, Mermaid Story) and other interactive content (e.g. Dreaming Whale) are shown on an LED screen.
Visitors can access interactive content by sending images and messages via smartphones or the Internet.
The aquarium has a 6,030 ton water tank, the largest in the nation, and which holds more than 34,000 marine animals from 300 species. In particular, visitors can observe rare species such as Baikal seals, beluga whales (Russian white whales), sea horses, and sea dragons.
The exhibition hall consists of a marine animal section, a marine experience section, and an ecotarium. At the ecotarium, which is designed like an Amazon jungle, visitors can see 100 marine species such as pirarucus and piranha. At a marine experience section, they can see a large water tank called Deep Blue Sea (16m) and a 360 degree Aquadome.
Visitors can also watch 6,000 sardines performing a group dance in the large anchovy tank.
The Theme Pavilion, the main exhibition hall, is the first domestic structure to be built on the sea.
From the land, the Theme Pavilion looks like a sperm whale breaching through the surface. However, from the sea, it creates an architectural beauty by producing the image of an island with a beautiful shore.
The facility creates a vivid image of five oceans through a 20m wall screen and a 5m domed screen, allowing visitors to feel like they are under the sea.
The expo has other facilities, such as the Korea Pavilion, the Climate & Environment Pavilion, the Marine Industry & Technology Pavilion, the Marine Civilization Pavilion, the Marine Life Pavilion, the International Pavilion, the International Organizations Pavilion, the International Fair Organizations Pavilion, the Local Government Pavilion, the Marine Beat Pavilion, the DSME Marine Robot Pavilion, the Korea Shipping & Ports Pavilion, and the Independent Corporation Pavilion.
Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea is a marine exposition held under the theme Ocean and Coast, both of which are sources of life and repositories of food. The expo will remind visitors of their priceless value, value that has been forgotten for a long time. Visitors will be able to see the harmony of life, ecology, and sea. The Yeosu Expo will be remembered as the first international event to present innovative and rare experiences.