ARCHITECTURES OF SPECTACLE
Friday 06 July 2012 | Whitechapel Gallery
Deepa Naik & Trenton Oldfield, coordinators of This Is Not A Gateway open up the Whitechapel Gallery’s stage to forge a new critical archive of the London 2012 Olympic spectacle. Alternative archives are important as they house and make available unsanctioned narratives often against attempts to homogenize certain periods or certain events. Once collated, The New Olympic Archive will be available at the Bishopsgate Institute– which already contains world-renowned collections on London history, labour and socialist history, free thought and humanism, co-operation, protest and campaigning.
With each episode of the modern Olympics the controversy increases … the volume of the drama is turned up a few more decibels and the pace quickens. This year’s “greatest show on earth” includes, amongst other highlights; surface to air missiles, aircraft carriers, an oversized electrified fence and a polemically corporate sponsored ‘Cultural Olympiad’. Underneath the rooftop missiles are the homes of the greatest geographic concentration of artists in Europe. Many artists, though not all, have been prolifically critiquing, dissenting, provoking and re-proposing the site, the spectacle and the narrative.
With confidentiality and no-critique contracts imposed by LOCOG, the line between official/sanctioned/inside and unofficial/countercultural/outside may never have been as apparent and as stark. The role of an archive in this context becomes urgent. The first contributor to The New Olympic Archive will be the, until recently, official 2012 Olympic Park artist Neville Gabie. Having recently completed his work for the Games, Neville has turned and ‘bitten the hand that fed him’. He highlights his own self-censorship, whilst calling into question the very motivations of the Olympic movement, asking “has sport simply sold itself to the highest bidder, political regeneration and the corporate giants” and why are those involved with the games “burying every objection, every local or national concern under the weight of its own self-belief?” The archive’s second contributor will be Christina Mitrentse, artist and curator, who has had her work stopped in a public gallery by an Olympic organisation and another work removed from a privately owned wall by a public body. Both will share their experiences of the interplay between official and unofficial cultural Olympiads.
The Whitechapel’s stage will then be open to anyone who wants to share their own experiences of being edited, censored and colonised by any of the Olympic spectacle bodies (or friends) or to share their own process of self-censorship. Examples from the inside or outside of the real and metaphorical ‘electrified fence’ are welcome. The contributions will form The New Olympic Archive, which will be published after the Whitechapel Gallery event, forging an alternative history and narrative to the games from the bid to now … “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity” and “our opportunity to shine”.
'WHO DARES WINS'
Milkser Festival, Belgrade, 28 May - 01 June 2012 - Cancelled
Casting one’s memory over the contemporary and historic ‘city’, which streets, carparks, buildings or neighbourhoods were forged beyond or adjacent democratic methodologies? Is it more revealing to list which spaces were not?
Are the fires that destroy historic buildings that have been standing in the way of new developments an act of expedience? Is the ‘Big Society’ concept as proposed by the current coalition government in the United Kingdom a daring device to compel the poor to carry even more burdens for the rich? Is the city employee that searches out a bribe daringly shaping the future city? Are the ongoing attempts to enclose the commons acts of opportunism? Are the first gates and fences that go around a house, park or housing compound realpolitik in practice? Was the first claim to the concept of owning land and property a daring risk that just stuck; it’s promoted narrative and ritual over centuries forming our current reality?
Is the conception, production and management of ‘the city’ a consequence of those that have dared and won? Is ‘the city’ and our urban lives forged by the daring and those actively working to generate and take advantage? Taking the cue from the Mikser Festival with its direct interventions into Belgrade’s Savamal district, we will host a workshop asking what are the possibilities that arise from no longer reacting, lamenting and researching but rather employing the philosophy, training and tactics that are represented in the motto ‘Who Dares Wins’.
Jeddah, KSA, 2011