The logo came first – labelled everything from a toddler’s scrapbook to a crude caricature of Lisa Simpson and an unspecified male engaged in a sex act. Since then the promotional material for London 2012 games has been widely criticised. As commentators were quick to point out: in arguably the world capital of creativity, communication and design, there was space for wit, intelligence and sophistication. Instead, with the exception of the architecture, it’s been criticized as unimaginative, clichéd and, in terms of promoting the concept of “Britishness”, patronising and one-dimensional. A set of Olympic rings erected at St Pancras international station to welcome Eurostar passengers in March 2011, were criticised for being obvious and uninspiring. The uniforms unveiled for the 70,000 Games Makers volunteers – deep purple in colour with “poppy” red collars, cuffs and piping – were written off as gaudy and too similar to a cashier at UK supermarket Sainsbury’s. And even the official Olympics posters, by several well-known artists such as Tracey Emin, failed to both excite, reach the iconic heights of previous Olympics – or, perhaps most unforgivably, mention the date or the venue anywhere.
- Who or what will fill the gap for a visible artistic movement within the Games? Will it be the works or someone officially commissioned, or something more underground from the likes of someone like Banksy?
- London’s East end is not only the home of the Olympic Village, but also home to a growing arts and youth movement. How exactly will the images of Shoreditch Station, Boxcar Village and so on be projected to the world?