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Mega-Event Cities: Art/Audiences/Aftermaths

Peter Dickinson, Kirsty Johnston, and Keren Zaiontz, Editors

MEGA-EVENT CITIES brings together leading scholars, artists, and activists to examine the role of the arts in articulating the social agendas of urban mega-events like Olympic Games and World Expos. As mega-events circulate from one city to the next, they leave complex (often ruinous) infrastructural legacies for artists and communities, with scenarios of national celebration transiting swiftly to austerity measures and socially cleansed urban cores. The contributors to PUBLIC 53 engage with the exhilaration and sober aftermaths of the “mega” by taking stock of the fluid politics of officials who seek to commemorate mega-events through public art programs, and activists who choose to question the same events through creative acts of resistance. With particular focus on Vancouver and London—but ranging beyond to Sochi, Rio, Milan, Calgary, and Baku, Azerbaijan—this issue asks how art and culture can intervene in the pressing security, human rights, and environmental issues that shape mega-events. Mega-Event Cities addresses the local politics of global placemaking and shows the shared artistic practices, performative interventions, and resistant acts that can be found across host city sites.

Table of Contents

PART 1: Vancouver 2010

Hosts and Guests

Lorna Brown


The Illusion of Inclusion: Agenda 21 and the Commodification of Indigenous Culture in Olympic Games

Janice Forsyth


“You just Censored Two Native Artists”: Diseased Logics and Anti-Olympic Resistance

Jennifer Adese


PART 2: London 2012

Olympian Performance: The Cultural Economics of the Opening Ceremony of London 2012

Michael McKinnie


Media Archaeologies of the Olympic City

Angela Piccini


Inelastic Olympic Hopefuls: Rhythmic Mis-Interpellation in Three Auditions for the London 2012 Ceremonies

Keren Zaiontz


PART 3: Reflections on Art and Activism after the “Big Show”

PROJECT: Battle for a Brave New World

Jenny Sealey


INTERVIEW. Public Art as Collective Practice: A Conversation with Neville Gabie

Neville Gabie and Keren Zaiontz


INTERVIEW. The Aesthetics of Austerity: A Conversation with Liz Crow

Liz Crow and Keren Zaiontz

PART 4: Suspending Freedom, Sustaining Spectacle: Mega-Event Cities, Past and Present

Calgary (1988): A Cultural Olympiad Avant La Lettre

Susan Bennett


Olympic Homonationalisms

Heather Sykes


All that Glitters: Sport BP, and Repression in Azerbaijan (“The Great Coming Out Part of Azerbaijan” and “What the Marriage has Created”)

Emma Hughes and James Marriott (Platform)


PROJECT: States of no Exception: EXPO 2015 in Milano

Urban Subjects


PROJECT: Figures (2015)—Mass Sculptural Durational Performance

Liz Crow


PROJECT: Collective Breath poster

Neville Gabie