The Olympic dream incites many powerful visual images of atheletes competing in idealic settings, graciously stepping up to the podium to accept medals of achievement, that we as a nation take pride in as a shared experience of creating champions from our every day lives. However the Olympic dreams’ reality is much different than the images we first imagine.
This paper begins with exploring the critical discourse of the representation of “place” as a “consumable commodity” through growth machine politics. By examining the preparations of the Olympic and Paralympic games in Vancouver, Canada, we can gain a better understanding of the social/political impacts of visually packaging a city for consumer consumption.
For example, Vancouver’s initial bid for the 2010 Winter Games incorporated an aggressive and sophisticated mobilization of images that packaged our city in symbolic terms in order to win. The intention of this strategy was to cultivate economic gain through tourism, political agendas and transnational investments. The stakeholders, International Olympic Committee (IOC), Vancouver Olympic Committee (VANOC), national and provincial governments and the business communities began to transform the urban landscape into the ideal utopian city. However this reconfiguration of space and place impacted local urban communities by causing displacement of local residents and increased homelessness.
Results of this exploration identify the power of the visual image as a transformative agent upon the urban landscape. Additionally this paper identifies IOC’s requirement of host countries to have in place copyright legislation that provides the Olympic committee with extreme power over visual symbols and language linked with the Olympics.
|Keywords:||Olympic Dream, Reconfiguring, Place, Space, Growth Machine Politics|
Artographer, MA Student, Art Education, Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy, Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
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