Accepted paper:

Challenging the urban legacies of the Olympics: Mexico 1968-1994 and Moscow 1980-1991


Svitlana Biedarieva (Courtauld Institute of Art)

Paper short abstract:

The paper focuses on the legacies of the Olympic Games in Mexico City in 1968 and Moscow in 1980, and compares Olympic influences on official art production and development of alternative art practices inside urban space of the megapolises.

Paper long abstract:

This paper presents the ongoing PhD research that focuses on the influence of the Olympic Games in Mexico City 1968 and Moscow 1980 on the development of art in urban space. Mexico and the USSR are considered as two polar points marking the process of the Olympic expansion taking place from the beginning of 1960s. The paper investigates the influence of the Olympic events on creation of an externalized ideal image of a state, and the subsequent process of sociocultural transformation inside the countries. The research focuses on influences of the symbolic expression of national identity and international perspective on the development of a post-Olympic city.

In the paper Olympic Moscow appears as a city of a void, as both official events of the Games were subverted by international boycott, and at the same time alternative art was "pushed out" to the suburban margins of Moscow. In 1960s Mexico City experienced intensive assimilation of surrounding villages, and the city centre decreased in its ideological importance as an official site of culture. These two parallel models of relation between centre and periphery in the dialogue "official-underground" is one of the focal points of my research in the context of the Olympic Games. The paper argues that after the Olympic Games similar processes of transformation in cultural situation could be considered and, as a result, the balance between governmentally approved art and experimental alternative art changed.

panel P05
Sport and society