The Art of Dissent: Adventures in London’s Olympic State brings together a body of work that has emerged in response to the arrival of the Olympics in East London.
Artists, writers, film makers, academics, photographers and activists intervene in the dominant discourse, language and images of regeneration and the Games. The book examines both the political economy of the mega-event and the silenced history of Lower Lea valley, making a powerful case against the politics of erasure and the corporatisation of urban space. Issues of land grab, displacement, military urbanism and exceptional measures of legal protection are explored through essays, images, poetry, fiction and installations.
“This book is a monument to dissent. Not a celebration, not a commemoration of past events, but a monument – it preserves, for the eyes and ears of the future, the enduring vibration of a series of dissenting percepts and affects, landscapes and faces, visions and becomings. We have brought together a collection of works that shake up the cartography of the sensible and the thinkable enacted by the Olympics. The contributors gathered in this volume have refused their role as recipients and spectators of the Olympic-led transformation and acted in myriad ways – subtle, militant, analytical, passionate – upon the arrival of the Olympic machine in the East End of London. In doing so, they have challenged a key element in the production of consensus around the Games: the division between those who may speak and those who may not, between that which can be discussed and that which cannot. This is a book made of words that were not meant to be heard, images that were not supposed to be seen – a slit in the consensual space of London 2012.”
Excerpt from “Introduction: Intervening in London 2012”, by the editors.
“It’s no surprise that artistic responses to the Olympics are forming a serious body of critical work. From Lara Almarcegui to Laura Oldfield Ford and Iain Sinclair, the Art of Dissent brings together some of the best.”
Anna Minton. Author of Ground Control.
“This collection opens up and explores the space between the Olympic Games seen as global spectacle and the mega event experienced as a disturbance to the flows and places of east London. The Olympic Games bring many hidden legacies. One important one is a stimulus to reflection and debate about the city and its futures. As well as redesigning large parts of the host city the Games force us to re-think and re-map borders and territories. Linking aesthetic apprehension to critical sensibility in a collection of striking pieces, this volume records a valuable account of the debates, experiences and perspectives that characterise Olympic London.”
Dr Iain MacRury. Director, London East Research Institute, UEL. Author (with Gavin Poynter) of Olympic Cities: 2012 and the Remaking of London.
About the Editors:
Hilary Powell is an artist and AHRC Fellow in the Creative and Performing Arts at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL working on a three-year project critiquing the utopian narratives of the Games through appropriation of techniques of pop-up book production and etching alongside a residency on a demolition site.
Isaac Marrero-Guillamón is post-doctoral research fellow at Birkbeck undertaking a project entitled The Militant City investigating the role of art in the configuration of spaces of dissent in relation to the Olympic mega-event.