This article examines public art’s relationship to urban mega-events through a case study of “The Games are Open,” a durational outdoor artwork that was constructed from Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic–detritus by Berlin-based artists Folke Köbberling and Martin Kaltwasser. Taking the form of a larger-than-life bulldozer with shovel down, it faced the expanse of interim lands awaiting future development along Vancouver’s South East False Creek. Exposed to weather, soil, and the passing of time, the artwork was intended to give way to a process of gradual decomposition, its form providing fodder for new growth. Over the four years of the project’s existence, its form shifted from sculpture, to garden, to dirt pile, each transformation driven by the agendas of assumed owners. This article chronicles the artwork’s co-option within the context of land speculation that is embedded within Vancouver’s history of building up and tearing down. It relates how the protection and control of property spawned by mega-events influenced the project’s outcome.


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pp. 16-21
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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