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Olympic Visions

March 7, 2011

I met a photographer called Alessandra Chila at the weekend. She was talking to the young photographers on the Headstart programme about her project documenting the transformation of the Olympic Site – Olympic Visions. It’s a sort of meditation on the transformation of the area of London directly effected by the Olympic Park and the consequences for the people who used to live, work and play there. They definitely have a message – something she is keen to communicate by trying to control the context in which they are seen. e.g. I’ve got some postcards here she gave me (that are actually real postcards you could send, rather than big business card type things) which are sort-of playing with how the story of London’s Olympics is tol, forcing us to think about what constitutes ‘improving a place’ and what we value when we improve it. Here are some of them on my desk.

‘On the back of this one the text reads ‘In the spirit of the ‘Greenest Games Ever’, fishes and newts will be gathered into nets and reversed into cleaner waters, rare birds will be given new nests, bees and moths will be caught and moved to alternative habitats to save them being crushed during work on the Olympic site. Upon completion these creatures will then be transported back their new homes. ‘Wildlife refuges’, in the finished Olympic park’

Meanwhile, 300 members of the longstanding Clays Lane housing co-operative will be evicted, 250 gypsies and travelers will face removal from decades old official sites. To none of them has it been promised that after the Olympics they will move back to thir own homes or natural environment. Perhaps the ‘right to return’ attaches better to fishes and bees than to human beings.’

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