(UN) OFFICIAL CULTURAL OLYMPIAD (TITLE TBC), Edited by Dr Hilary Powell & Dr Isaac Marrero-Guillamón.
Forthcoming: Myrdle Court Press, London: 2012
From ‘Superfix Project’, 2008-present, Rowan Durrant
Myrdle Court Press has commissioned Hilary Powell & Isaac Marrero to edit a book that will document and highlight critical responses to the official London 2012 Olympic Games site and Cultural Olympiad. The book will be published in 2012 and will collect the range of critical responses that have occurred since the governing bodies choose to bid for the 2012 Games. The book will also present an overview, history and critique of the Cultural Olympia and in doing so will argue against the corporatisation of urban space. The critical work, projects and ideas published will be indispensable for citizens of future bidding cities.
Hilary Powell has been engaged with and producing work and events around the edges of the London 2012 Olympic site since 2007. She is currently working on a three year project entitled ‘The critical Pop-Up book: Re-imagining London’s Olympic Structures of Enchantment’ (AHRC Fellowship in the Creative and Performing Arts at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL). www.hilarypowell.com
Isaac Marrero-Guillamón is a sociologist/anthropologist. He has lived and worked in London since 2007. He is currently a post-doctoral research fellow at Birkbeck, University of London, undertaking a two-year project called 'the militant city', which investigates artistic practices critical towards the Olympics.
PUBLISHER: Myrdle Court Press is an independent publishing company that advances the ideas of critical urbanists. It is the publishing arm of the not for profit organisation 'This is Not A Gateway’. Central Books are the sole distributor of Myrdle Court Press books in Europe.
BOOK OVERVIEW: Most modern Olympics are controversial but the clamour and countdown to the Games themselves drowns out the many playful, angry, nostalgic, ironic and creative voices of dissent and critique crying out in the wake of their arrival in town. What the London 2012 bid and organising teams didn’t take into consideration is that the greatest number of artists in all of Europe, live alongside what is now the biggest development site in Europe. Unsurprisingly, since The Games were proposed artists & cultural practitioners have been at the forefront provoking Londoners with critical insights and poetic summaries of a global event played out on their patch.
There is currently no book that brings together critical cultural projects and practices that have emerged in response to the Olympics and its large-scale regeneration project. This book intervenes in the dominant discourse and language surrounding the Cultural Olympiad to bring together projects that engage intelligently with the changing landscape - from resistance and counter narratives, analysis of cultural policy, legal frameworks and changing land use to predictions and potential blueprints for future host cities as Russia gears up for the Winter Olympics 2014 and Rio De Janeiro looks towards 2016. Focusing as it does on the work of artists it examines how cities are shaped through cultural memory and spatial practices and presents powerful arguments against the politics of erasure and the corporatisation/militarization of urban space.
This research has an immediate and lasting impact on the debate around the politics of urban space and regeneration and engages with diverse cross disciplinary fields and constituencies of interest from academia to quangos and policy makers, third sector and public bodies, artists, cultural organisations, urban designers, planners, geographers and local communities - all those affected by regeneration and involved in the discourse surrounding it. Most specifically the knowledge produced and transferred will make a valuable contribution to research on how future bid/host cities approach Olympic-led regeneration provoking and empowering a critical vision and response to the local, political, social and geographical changes it entails.
Including commissioned articles by practitioners and theorists at the front line of activities in this area alongside photographs, interviews and a catalogue of projects the book will address a selection of the following themes:
- (Un)Official Cultural Olympiad
- A Travelling Circus: Learning from London?
- Artists Taking the Lead or Following the Leader
- 'Art of Regeneration’: Hijackers and Hijacked
- The collectors, collected and collectables
- The Emerald City: Legacy visions
- Urban Village: The Rise and Fall of Hackney Wick
- History Repeating
- The Right Side of London?
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