Humans are hardwired to notice light, sound, and motion, and by extension, process, “a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end” that can mix all of those attractors into a beguiling draw. Fairs have long embraced this tactic, from employing the feared Geronimo in a booth making bows and arrows at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase expo to Ford Motor Co. installing a working assembly line at the 1915 Panama–Pacific International Exposition that turned out 4,400 cars during the fair.
Back in 1939, how sausage was made was as much a mystery as an Agatha Christie novel. To convince the public that its meats were as hygienic as a hospital, Swift and Co. built an assembly line for its exhibit at the 1939–40 New York World's Fair where visitors could watch the entire procedure of how frankfurters were manufactured. So successful was it that Swift magazine ads emphasized that the franks made just like they were at the fair.
Salvatore Ferragamo S.p.A, the Italian fashion brand whose founder once studied anatomy to make shoes feel like something more than dead weights attached to feet, offered a rare insight into its methods in the Italian pavilion at Expo 2010 in Shanghai. Laboring behind glass partitions that made them look like part of a living museum exhibit, two Ferragamo craftsmen slowly and skillfully hand-built footwear from beginning to end. While at times spectators filed past other exhibits in the pavilion in a matter of moments, the cobblers’ time-intensive process held crowds in place as if they were tethered there by rope.