“The Sky Is No Longer the Limit” was the centerpiece presentation of the USA Pavilion at Expo Dubai 2020, which ran from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022. Positioned within a suspended proscenium 39 feet (12 meters) above spectators’ heads, the eight-minute presentation incorporated large LED screens and mapped projection on moving, dimensional objects that silently glided into the room. The presentation explored the possibilities of future technologies as part of an overarching pavilion narrative of American innovation.
The USA Pavilion at Expo Dubai 2020 took visitors on a journey from the past to present to the future of American innovation, showcasing the many ways in which the United States has been and continues to be a global leader in shaping ideas and technologies. Guided by the theme “Life, Liberty, & Pursuit of the Future,” the pavilion not only highlighted the USA’s technological innovations, but also explored how the American experiment to foster a diverse and pluralistic society based on ideals of liberty has given the American people opportunities to become global leaders responsible for creating that future. Told through seven immersive exhibits, the USA Pavilion celebrated and explored this unique American spirit that harnesses creativity, rewards risk, and creates a brighter future for all.
The centerpiece of the experience was the fourth exhibit in the visitor sequence: “The Sky Is No Longer the Limit.” After exploring the origins, history, and present-day stories of American innovations in the first three exhibits, “The Sky Is No Longer the Limit” posed the question of “what’s next?”
The presentation quite literally compelled audiences to look to the sky, with a proscenium suspended 39 feet (12 meters) directly above the viewing area. An array of LED screens formed the backdrop of the overhead proscenium, with a large aperture-like frame around the proscenium that contracted and expanded in sync with projected visuals. During the presentation, several large dimensional objects moved on a cable system between the grid of LED backdrop screens. These suspended objects silently glided from beyond the edges of the proscenium and then lowered into place through the aperture directly above guests. It served to create a mesmerizing choreography to the presentation not unlike watching celestial objects move through space. Some of these objects included astronauts, spacecraft, and a 16 foot (5 meter) sphere.
The mapped projection had to be precisely calibrated to track with the physical movement of each object, allowing the sphere to transform into the Earth, the moon, Mars, or other abstracted displays at different points in the presentation.
The content of the presentation explored technologies such as the fusion ignition research by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which could someday become a powerful form of renewable energy. Additional topics such as the theoretical promises of quantum computing and the possibilities of the democratization of space were also explored during the eight-minute presentation.
At the end of the Expo Dubai’s six month run attracting 23 million people, the pavilion was disassembled with many of its components recycled. However, due to the special design and technology of this centerpiece presentation, “The Sky is No Longer the Limit” was engineered as a structurally separate, freestanding exhibit within the pavilion. This allowed it to be disassembled and preserved, where it is expected to eventually find adaptive reuse in a new location.
U.S. Department of State
Mint Creative Production
Electra Exhibitions LLC
Other exhibit and show contributions
TECS Event Services
Zone Display Case
Maggs Bros. Ltd.
Intellectual Properties Management
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Bharathi & Gitanjali Rao
Jordan & Jen Reeves
Dr. Yvonne Cagle
Facility and fit-out
Lobo and Listone
National Capital Flag Co
Art Sign Works
Bernhardt / IFL (local sales rep)
Dietl Artifact Shipping