In Abolish the Olympics, experimental Live Art duo, Pony Express attempt to exorcise their love-hate relationship with the tarnished event by hosting their own “bootleg Olympiad”.
Adaptable and scalable for a gallery, black box, club or sports arena, we create a hand-made hyper-arena where audiences can explore custom equipment and propaganda that exposes the unethical underbelly of international sport, and the growing protest movement to cancel The Games forever. Open to the public as an installation, this exhibition also hosts a ticketed, DIY, multi-arts, multi-sport tournament.
As artistic athletes, Pony Express face-off in a punishing, condensed performance of 33 summer sports: from archery to wrestling, an over-the-top opening ceremony to hocking bespoke Abolish merchandise.
The artists are simultaneously coaches, athletes, performers, spectators, and commentators, sparring with the beast of cultural boycott from the inside out. Each ‘Olympiad’ is broadcast, complete with infographics and absurd symbols, across presenter’s and artist’s YouTube, Facebook and other social media platforms. The live stream is shot and presented in real-time within the performance. Each recorded Olympiad is displayed via a video monitor for the length of the exhibition.
Inspired and informed by anti-IOC (International Olympic Committee) protest movements, such as ‘NOlympicsLA’, which have gained media traction and growing public support and created via a rigorous process of interviewing activists, athletes and past event organisers. Pony Express’s techno-infused, physical, and metaphysical, speculative stadium takes audiences on a deep dive into the unscrupulous global branding exercise.
Pony Express challenge sports-mad Australian audiences to rethink the soft power and hard body humiliation of a mega-event that, if unquestioned, threatens to destroy communities and cement cities as playgrounds for the rich.
Abolish the Olympics is a heightened contest that implicates everyone in the production of cultural spectacle and queers ‘C’mon Aussie C’mon’ values. The Olympics are cancelled. Long Live the Olympics.
Abolish the Olympics was originally presented by Contemporary Art Tasmania. This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body, and is assisted through Arts Tasmania by the Minister for the Arts.
Official Abolish The Olympics Team Uniforms by Hickey Hardware
Official Arena Audiovisual Design by hosting
Arena Wrangler: Sophie Ambler
Livestream team: Joseph Shrimpton and Jacob Collings