When: Until 8th September 2012
Where: Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Street, London EC1R 3GA
What is it?
Politics & Olympics: Ideals and Realities is an exhibition of images and a series of talks and debates investigating the complex relationship between politics and the Olympic movement. It will be hosted by Farringdon-based Free Word (www.freewordonline.com), a global meeting place for literature, argument, and free-thinking.
The Olympic Games have been inextricably tied to international events and political movements – in spite of the organisers’ consistent attempts to render the Games apolitical – throughout their history. From protests over the participation of women in the early Twentieth Century, through to manifestations of racism, Cold War politics, nationalism, terrorism, globalisation, as well as controversy over body shape, numerous social concerns have been played-out on the Olympic stage.
Now, ahead of London 2012, Politics & Olympics: Ideals and Realities at Free Word will celebrate the positive aspects of the Olympics – as a platform for sporting achievement and promoting progressive attitudes – but will also debunk the myth that the Games are immune to the political climate of their time and the machinations of international diplomacy.
At the heart of the Politics & Olympics: Ideals and Realities project is an exhibition at the Free Word Centre featuring historical and contemporary photographs including previously unseen images which highlight political aspects of the Games. The exhibition will be simultaneously staged at Newcastle Central Library and Nottingham Central Library.
The themes revealed in the exhibition will be explored through a programme of talks and discussions at the Free Word Centre and on the website (www.freewordonline.com). Contributors to Politics & Olympics hail from a wide range of backgrounds, including urbanists, freedom of expression campaigners and historians; all exploring the bonds between the biggest global sporting occasion and contemporary affairs – and the shortcomings of IOC’s ostensibly restrictive approach to external debate.
20th June 2012: Artist, writer and photographer Alberto Duman, in association with Mute Magazine, will host Regeneration Games. A group of critics and commentators will respond to a collection of videos, objects and documents that question the ‘official story’ of the regeneration of East London.
12th July 2012: Incursions and Subversions: Art’s response to London’s Olympic Dreams, will see Hilary Powell and Isaac Marrero present creative critical responses to the iconography and language of the forthcoming games from their book The Art of Dissent: London’s Olympic State.
6th August 2012: A screening of Torch – a new documentary by Marc Silver and AJ Rivers – investigating whether London’s Olympics will fulfill its promise to transform East London (screened on the anniversary of the 2011 London riots).
Free Word is a global meeting place for literature, argument, and free-thinking. The organisation combines an online portal and physical space in central London – the Free Word Centre. Both platforms encourage debate and discussion by hosting a diverse programme of events, lectures, performances, and literature, facilitating innovation and intellectual investigation in a rapidly changing city, country and world.
More info: www.freewordonline.com