Released on the occasion of the 2012 London Olympics, Olympukes 2012 was a new set of pictograms telling the ‘real’ story of the Olympics and extending the unofficial project which began in 2004. The occasion of the London games provided an opportunity to revisit the complex contradictions of the modern Olympics whilst and to acknowledge the geopolitical shifts of the intervening eight years.
The 2012 games arrived at a time of great economic and political uncertainty. Greece – the host of the 2004 games – sat at the epicentre of a crumbling Eurozone. The United Kingdom was two years into a programme of austerity enacted by the coalition government. Ironically, the last time that London had hosted the games in 1948, they were nicknamed the Austerity Games. The suppression of human rights in order to deliver the perfect games was unsurprising in Beijing, yet in London the security measures also seemed grossly excessive. Then again, in a country with an estimated 1.8 million cctv cameras, perhaps we shouldn’t have been so surprised. Another aspect of the Olympics that returned for 2012 was the unfettered commercialism – if you thought the games are about sport alone, think again.
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