après moi, le deluge — & the Olympicon

February 15th, 2010 | 1 comment

eye-in-the-sky security blimp over the Callaghan as the crowds press on toward a logistics nightmare

I am currently living in the midst of the Olympic maelstrom. For some reason I thought I might find myself frantically blogging the madness, but for the most part I find myself uninterested in doing so. Organised indie media such as the Vancouver Media Coop have kept it under control, and the damage is flying so fast & furious — see Democracy Now’s coverage of Olympic resistance to CBC on VANOC’s bad logistics & lack of venue foresight — that keeping up on Twitter seems to be the way to roll. So instead of daily blogging, I’ve been tweeting impressions & links [ @fugitivephilo ]. Anyway, first came the torch, and for that I have a video, ambivalence & beer included:

Perhaps coverage these days is better writ by Tweets, twitpics & links — watching Tweetdeck assemble feeds from athletes, broadcasters, artists, fans & resistance organisers is a fascinating visual depiction of a concentrated geography in which a heterogeneous blend of peoples come to mix under one given purpose. What that purpose is, I’m not sure. While the athletes are right in claiming this purpose for sport, VANOC and the IOC seem more interested in claiming the purpose for sponsorship and the strictest branding / copyright since anyone can remember — even kicking out the sports charity Right to Play from the Athlete’s Village./

a small slice of the twits flitting through the Olympic infomatrix

Living in Whistler during the Olympicon is a strange experience. On the one channel, it’s party time, with thousands upon thousands of people crowding the Village Stroll, taking it all in, dressed to the nines, cheering it on, and getting it on. I love it. It’s carnival & celebration and the thousands of cops and military really don’t know what to do — except smile every once in awhile. For the security (at least so far) is all but unnecessary as the throngs self-organise in the joy of mutual aid. That is what shared purpose can do for crowdsourcing — enact a kind of joyous, spontaneous flocking, with acceptance brewing even amongst all the dated 19th century symbols of nationalism… or, perhaps even because of them. By displaying the nation-state as a badge of difference, it becomes acceptable to cheer it on & bring it on when the consequence is symbol and not substance (or so goes the classic theory of sport crossing nationalist boundaries).

On the other channel, Whistler is in lockdown. While I enjoy the lack of traffic and increased transit, the massive police and military presence is unnerving, expensive, and intrusive. Backcountry skiiers who accidentally (though stupidly) travelled into the security zone several kilometres from the Whistler Athlete’s Village were detained & questioned for hours — even though they passed no signs or fences letting them know they were in a closed area. And two massive surveillance blimps hang over our heads. There are also Pigloos on every corner (black security cubes with coppers inside).

The over-the-top corporate presence (and price-tag) is somewhat subdued in Whistler, where local Council forbade intrusive public advertising with its strict Bylaws concerning preservation of the Village atmosphere. That said, the Corporate Invasion is insidious — to pick a petty example, I can’t get my favourite local beers at most pubs, as Kokanee or Canadian have bought out the barrels. No thanks, I don’t drink mass-produced piss.

Overall, I like the fact that I can catch Canadian electronic music innovators Mathew Jonson, Colin the Mole & Deadbeat on a thundering soundsystem, for free, in the snow, with only a few dozen punters kicking it down. That the trio were originally billed from Ireland (WTF?), mischaracterized as DJs (they are producers, and only Colin played records — Scott & Matt played their own material from laptop), mis-advertised (Mathew Jonson was billed as “MJ”) — well, anyway, it boggles the mind that these fine musicians play for thousands upon thousands in Europe, but in Canada, still can’t get no decent respect (or press) from the rawkstablishment. So it goes; those in the know got down to the sound. It’s just too bad we can’t celebrate fringe CDN artists like we celebrate fringe CDN athletes. That’s why CDN electronic artists have left for the technohub of Berlin in the first place — we’re not civilized enough here to give the arts what they deserve.

somehow I doubt that Colin, Matt & Scott have ever played for skier & snowboarders jumping through rings of fire../

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    One Response to “après moi, le deluge — & the Olympicon”

    1. après moi, le deluge — & the Olympicon >> tackling the Olympics in Whistler >> blogpost for the Sporting End Times | http://bit.ly/dzHqnV