In the 2004 Olympics Opening Ceremony, Philly was representin’, as our own MattyBoy Hart was on the director's team. For this 2008 round, props go to Zhang Yimou.
As a graphic conscience, the celebrated references to historical Chinese mediums such as papermaking, calligraphy, and printmaking in an event watched by a large portion of the world population made me cheer (see image of movable type, from the Official Site of the 2008 Olympic Games). Though such things as handmade paper and printmaking are now considered art forms, at their invention, they were the height of technology. And, despite all our technology today, paper in particular is still its basis. It takes the form of our money, our marriage licenses, the deeds to our homes, our insurance forms, and all contracts too important to risk in an email black hole or computer crash. So it was exciting to see their origins hailed, and recall that these origins are really the origins of modern society.
It goes without saying that
I’ve always been blown away by the material sensitivity, feeling for light, and restraint of certain Asian artists. Artists such as Xu Bing, Rie Hachiyanagi or Sun Young Kang have the ability to evoke both the transcendental and the mundane, saying exactly what they need to express without clutter. It is this ability that I find lacking in Western minimalism, which seems hollow and plastic in comparison.
Zhang Yimou addressed both the past and the future in his ceremony. He referenced the threat of global warming towards the planet in his ceremony, and went on to imply that through openness and coming together and supporting one another, we can solve problems. The Olympics has brought attention to