Contested Games: Mexico 68’s Olympic design revolution

Contested Games: Mexico 68 Olympic design revolution

This exhibition focuses on one of the most fascinating but underexplored aspects of the Mexico 68 Olympic Games; the Mexican student movement’s appropriation of the official Olympic design to their own political ends.

1968 was a year of worldwide social unrest, upheaval and protest. It was also the year of a landmark Olympic Games in Mexico: the first Olympiad in Latin America, the first woman to light the Olympic flame, Black Panther salutes by US atheletes – and a design programme that surpassed all of the previous Olympics and has since entered the history books.

The flexibility of the design’s application is central to the story told by this exhibition: how the powerful graphics were appropriated by the student movement in a moment of political crisis to narrate the reality of their situation. Protesting for transparency and dialogue with the government, just ten days before the Olympic opening ceremony, an estimated 300 students were killed by government troops during a protest in Tlatelolco, the city’s main square.

This exhibition seeks to explore what is at stake when a country hosts the Olympics; what happens in the gap between the universal values that the Games represents and the local realities faced in the host country.

Guest curated by PhD student Zanna Gilbert, Dept of Philosophy and Art History.

 

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