I have just come across something very interesting indeed, to me at least. I still have an odd interest in the Olympics, and the ceremonies in particular. It fascinates me how each city in turn uses such ceremonies to show itself off to the world. This probably stems, in part, from my love of travelling and exploring different places and cultures, as well as from my interest in Walter Benjamin from a cultural studies perspective. I like how in a way these ceremonies can be read as artistic texts, like plays, books or films, but on a far greater, international scale, with cities, countries and governments spending fortunes on finding their own way to present their selfs to the rest of the world.
This morning I began to wonder how Paris was doing in it’s preparations for it’s opening ceremony in three years’ time, so naturally I googled it, and came across this. Fascinatingly, our Parisian friends have decided to adopt a completely new format for the show, not just confined to one stadium as previous opening and closing ceremonies have been, but performed throughout the city. I think that’s a very interesting development indeed, and there is a lot you can read into it.
The french, being french, obviously take a lot of pride in their capital; they are bouncing at the opportunity to show it off to the world. It is indeed an extremely beautiful city. By taking the ceremony out of the stadium, they are making the city itself the focus of the event. Of course, London 2012’s opening ceremony had two or three films which cut away from the stadium, most notably my favourite; yet most of the action centred around the stadium up in Stratford. I get the impression that what paris is planning is on a far greater scale. The focus of the event will not just be one place, one stadium, but encompass the city so that Paris itself becomes the stage. I get the impression that what is being planned there is a complete departure from anything we have seen before, designed to put an entire city on display as far as possible. The event will take place across the city, so that the audience get a taste for it’s culture, architecture and history. I must say that the prospect of that, done over a city as aesthetically gorgeous as Paris, intrigues me, (although they’ll really have to pull the stops out to beat 007 meeting the Queen).