Billionaires for the Olympics
For Immediate Release


VANCOUVER -- February 17, 2003 -- "Billionaires for the Olympics", a group of artists critical of culture's role in the Olympics, successfully closed down the opening parade of Celebration 2010 on Granville Island, last Friday, February 14th. Instead, the Billionaires had their own parade, walking alongside their limo and handing out leaflets outlining the ways in which the Olympics will impact negatively upon artists and ordinary citizens. Shoppers on the usually-staid island did a double-take as this group of artists and art educators walked by dressed in furs , wigs and tuxedos, holding signs saying "Luge not Legal Aid", and, "Let Them Eat Snow!". Some students , staff and faculty from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design joined inwhile others hoisted their own anti-Olympics banner from a balcony.

Says UBC Ph.D. candidate Marusya Bociurkiw, who has been studying the representations that the Olympics produce, "these kinds of performances are crucial in creating a rupture in the Olympic's seamless and monolithic presentation. While the Olympics historically produce images that reinforce patriotism and a very limited idea of nationhood, culture-jamming strategies provide space for a much more diverse and nuanced public debate."

The Billionaires will be showing up at various pro-Olympic and anti-Olympics events in the coming weeks. The Westender describes the "Billionaires for the Olympics" as a "group with a serious artistic bent and unbridled imagination....Their message: the lunacy of government cuts in gaming funding for arts groups - not to mention healthcare and education - in the face of millions planned for express routes to the airport and Whistler."


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