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Winter Olympics: Contrasts

posted by DL Byron on February 16, 2010

There is splendor, energy, a new sense of pride in Canada for the Winter Olympics, and also contrasts like this photo


Suburban white youth billboard above a barbed-wire abandoned lot on the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, just a few blocks away from the Olympic Torch.

The photo was shot in the Downtown Eastside neighborhood where, to put it bluntly, the drug addicts and sex workers are. That’s also a few blocks away from where a community effort to give everyone a voice at the Olympics is being undertaken by the W2 Community Media Arts House. They’re “making history as the first and likely last independent social media centre during an Olympics.”

W2 provides media labs, guidance, pirate television, and a welcoming approach to those interested more in the affect of the Games then the medals. Because what you won’t see on TV is the Cultural Olympiad. Vancouver is a city invigorated to tell its stories through the arts and media and W2 is in the middle of it.

Winter Olympics: Alt Media at Work

Bike Hugger, a blog I publish, was accredited at the BCMC. That’s another center serving media that hasn’t paid the Olympics broadcast rights. Similar function to the W2 house, but under the official umbrella of the IOC with rules on what you can blog and not: don’t disparage the Olympics, keep it upbeat, not sports reporting at all. No such rules at W2.

Socializing the Good

This weekend I’m traveling to Amsterdam to talk at FITC a creative conference, and I’ll add a slide about what’s going on in Vancouver. In context to what we do with Bike Hugger, the talk is about Changing the World with Bikes and includes thinking about socializing the good. That’s a term I use to describe how we should use our blogging talents for more than telling the world how cool we are. Many of us bloggers are wondering what have we wrought when these tools we built, these tools of a revolution, ended up being used for marketing, SEO, and ROI stats.

My social media lament became very apparent when I came back to Seattle from Vancouver and statused:

It can get surreal sometimes, this blogging work; while shooting a needle exchange clinic and homeless teens in an art collective, Twitter lights up with Kevin Smith’s people of size protest, and Sarah Silverman saying retard at Ted. What’s more important?

The age of self-importance at some point must make way for community. I just saw the media makers in Vancouver, like KK+, Robert Scales and their homeboys at W2, doing just that.

Winter Olympics: Homeboys

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