crystals in the public eye

So, I don’t really follow the Olympics…and I don’t own a TV, (I know, I know…how unAmerican, right?) so I didn’t get a chance to see images from the opening ceremonies until they popped up on a TV in a pub I went to last week.  I saw this large crystal structure all aflame, and was simultaneously pleased to see such a brash display of awesomeness, and disappointed that this object I have seen cropping up in art and design the last couple of years was used for such a commercial event.  For a recent, relevant example, see the work of Alexis Anne Mackenzie in the previous post or this post from awhile back.

What’s funny, is that in all of the googling I did to find images for this post, not once did I see the word “crystal” appear.  Cauldron?  yes.  The ever-vague “structure”? yes.  Pillars? yes.  Also, I couldn’t find the name of an architect or designer for the “structure.”  It was simply implemented by the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC).  So, as much as I would like to give credit to some savvy designer with her finger on the pulse of the art world, I can’t.  Instead, I am left feeling a little bit like a somewhat ubiquitous, but relevant image was exploited by a behemoth of an event, and as a result, I feel a little bit empty inside.  Oh, Canada.

Posted February 16th, 2010 in Uncategorized. Tagged: , , , , .


  1. Joe Sacksteder:

    True there’s something lame about the Olympics, but couldn’t the case be made that – though it’s based in winning and losing – it still brings the countries of the world together like no other event? Seems like an okay use for crystals.

  2. amy:

    Joe, I don’t really have a problem with the Olympics. This post is more about the appropriation of an image being used in art by a LARGE non-art related event . Certainly no one has ownership over this image, but it’s use in association with the Olympics has just taken a little of the magic away from it for me personally. This tendency is what I am looking at in a lot of my artwork, so I am extra sensitive to it, I suppose.

  3. Joe Sacksteder:

    But the opening ceremonies – of which lighting the torch is the culminating moment – are entirely a cultural event for showcasing a variety of art, including dance, music, costume design, etc. I also heard these crystals continually referred to as “totems” during the event, which seems more like an homage-paying/appropriation of native american symbols. Does that make it more or less aggravating?

    How’s travel?

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