Shanghai travels to Texas

Updated: 2014-10-24 15:38

By MAY ZHOU in Houston(China Daily USA)

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Shanghai travels to Texas

Rice University President David Leebron (Left) and Shanghai Information Office Director Zhu Yonglei unveil one of the photos of the Amazing Shanghai Exhibit on Thursday at its opening ceremony at Rice, Houston. May Zhou/China Daily

For Houstonians who have never been to Shanghai, Shanghai has come to them.

For a few days, people can experience this vibrant metropolis through the lens of German architecture photographer Hans Georg Esch in a whole new dimension: viewers can literally immerse themselves in 360-degree panoramic photos and see what it's like to be there.

Esch's 360-degree rotunda offers viewers a platform in the middle that opens at the top. Its immersive environment provides an intense pictorial experience. One can literally submerge themselves in the pictures and observe the smallest details. All viewpoints merge into one against the horizon and the circularity creates infinite focal points of view.

Shanghai 360 Exhibition will be on display from Oct 23 to 27 at the Galleria. In addition, 60 photographs reflecting Shanghai scenery, culture and people will be displayed at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University at the same time.

The exhibitions, called Amazing Shanghai, are the result of collaborative efforts between the City of Houston, the City of Shanghai, Rice University and the Galleria.

An opening ceremony was held at the Baker Institute at Rice on Thursday with VIP attendants including Houston Mayor Pro Tem Ed Gonzalez, Chinese Consul General Li Qiangmin, Rice University President David Leebron. Rice University Representative Y. Ping Sun emceed the event.

Guests applauded this exchange program as a way to further the understanding between the people of the two cities and create more opportunity for future cooperation.

"Shanghai has done a lot of exchanges in commerce, education and technology with Houston, and we hope to foster deeper understanding through art and culture through programs such as the Amazing Shanghai Exhibition," said Zhu Yonglei, director of the information office of Shanghai.

Also on Thursday, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed by Houston Mayor Pro Tem Ed Gonzales and Zhu Yonglei. The

The MOU is an agreement to promote each of the partner cities for a year through a series of videos at strategic locations and on social media.

According to Zhu, this is a continuation of a similar MOU signed between Houston and Shanghai in 2012 which started the official image promotion exchanges between the two cities.

"Shanghai focuses on innovation, transformation and development and strives to become a center of international economy, finance, trading and shipping, a modern international metropolis," said Zhu, who had visited Houston numerous times before.

"I hope this exchange will unite us together to promote the sustainable development of cities around the globe."

Prior to the exhibits, Houston Mayor Annise Parker said through a press release, "Houston and Shanghai have built a strong, flexible and  modern partnership based on dynamic business centers and thriving cultural capitals. Yet there is more we can do to make our citizens aware of the tremendous opportunities each city offers the other."

"I believe renewing our international relationship will further strengthen cooperation and exchange between our two cities while promoting common development," said Shanghai Mayor Yang Xiong in the press release. "The Amazing Shanghai Exhibit will raise global awareness of our cities' leading economic sectors and thriving business communities."

Shanghai also donated a few hundred books - most of them on Chinese and Shanghai history and culture, including the newly published The World Cities Day and Shanghai Expo - to the Houston Public Library system.

"This is a welcome addition to the Houston Public Library and they will be available to all people throughout Houston, "said Reha Lawson, the library director.