banksy and the london olympics

I am a great fan of the Olympics – I can think of far worse ways for people from different countries treating one another (there are quite a few of these examples when you think about it!).  I am not a fan of every sport in the Olympics – boxing, for instance, seems like training for these other examples we can do without.  Also handball (why?) and synchronised swimming (it is ok as a sport, I guess, but why the silly grins?), and tennis (if the Olympics aren’t the pinnacle of their sport, why bother?).

Anyway, I also recognise that there are things around the Olympics that aren’t especially lovely… some of them are necessary evils, I guess.  Banksy, the great subversive London-based artist of our times, has reminded us of this with his satirical street art.
The rest of the images can be seen at: http://www.yornet.net/yornet/media/photpic/Banksy-at-the-Olympics

In the article there is a comment on brand exclusion which includes a quote from Banksy…
“As a result [of brand exclusion], visitors wearing clothing or carrying items with the logos of rival brands will be barred from entering the games. Athletes and spectators are not allowed to upload videos of their own, which would compete with television broadcasts. These restrictions exist in both space and time, “up to 1km beyond [the Olympic Park’s] perimeter, for up to 35 days.”

Freedom of speech is a popular right, and one of the most easily contested. The issue becomes even more complicated when companies and individuals clash. But in this case, we feel uncomfortable at how rigidly the IOC is suppressing other voices. And when we think of the tyranny of brands, we think of Banksy:

“Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It’s yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head. You owe the companies nothing. Less than nothing, you especially don’t owe them any courtesy. They owe you. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs.”

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