Edited by: Peter Dickinson, Kirsty Johnston, and Keren Zaiontz
Meg-Event Cities brings together leading scholars, artists, and activists to examine the role of the arts in articulating the social agendas of urban mega-events like Olympic Games and World Expos. As mega-events circulate from one city to the next, they leave complex (often ruinous) infrastructural legacies for artists and communities, with scenarios of national celebration transiting swiftly to austerity measures and socially cleansed urban cores. The contributors to PUBLIC 53 engage with the exhilaration and sober aftermaths of the “mega” by taking stock of the fluid politics of officials who seek to commemorate mega-events through public art programs, and activists who choose to question the same events through creative acts of resistance. With particular focus on Vancouver and London—but ranging beyond to Sochi, Rio, Milan, Calgary, and Baku, Azerbaijan—this issue asks how art and culture can intervene in the pressing security, human rights, and environmental issues that shape mega-events. Mega-Event Cities addresses the local politics of global placemaking and shows the shared artistic practices, performative interventions, and resistant acts that can be found across host city sites.