An August 14 piece by Fan Yang, assistant professor of Media and Communications Studies, for FlowTV discussed the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
“How London Responded to Beijing in the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony” contrasted the London ceremony with that of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, noting that the Danny-Boyled production of July 27th “follow[ed] a rather simple strategy: whatever China did, we do the opposite.” These differences ranged from an individualist vs. collective ethos, to a comparatively light-hearted party atmosphere as opposed to 2008’s manifestation of “the [Chinese] Communist Party’s burning desire to be recognized globally” as a great power on the international stage.
Yang also detailed the reactions to the two ceremonies, pointing out that viewers were more ready to criticize China’s cermony, even as London’s contained some of the same issue. Yang concludes:
“Implicit is a commentary on the human cost of China’s rise, a display of mass subject that offers an opening to critique the real productive conditions of the information age. This representation of subjectivity stands in stark contrast to Boyle’s boy-meets-girl-via-cell-phone story. In that new-media-saturated narrative, the society of spectacle operates in full force: machine commodities displace social relations, screens blind players from seeing the game, and class consciousness is fragmented by the hidden codes of the communications network.”