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Athens 2004 - 10 Years Anniversary

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"The ceremony I dreamt of creating had clarity of form and economy of colour, focused exclusively on art history, took a sensual approach to Greek identity, and bore an underlying sexuality that would make it engaging on a visceral level. I sought to create intimacy on a grand, spectacular scale, and to appeal to archetypal emotions and images in order for the ceremony to work on both a spiritual and emotional level. The ceremony could not be a story – it could only be the unfolding of a dream sequence." Dimitris Papaioannou





"I woke with this marble head in my hands — it exhausts my elbows and I do not know where to put it down.

It was falling into the dream as I was coming out of the dream so our life became one and it will be very difficult for it to separate again.” George Seferis — Mythistorema 3





ten years on — a blog celebrating memories of the ceremony — with new documentary material by Athina Rachel Tsangari




Edited by savas
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Thanks savas

It's been 10 years... and I still have in my ears the heartbeat and the "Olympic games welcome back to Greece!"...

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birthplace

"The ceremony I dreamt of creating had clarity of form and economy of colour, focused exclusively on art history, took a sensual approach to Greek identity, and bore an underlying sexuality that would make it engaging on a visceral level. I sought to create intimacy on a grand, spectacular scale, and to appeal to archetypal emotions and images in order for the ceremony to work on both a spiritual and emotional level. The ceremony could not be a story – it could only be the unfolding of a dream sequence." Dimitris Papaioannou

https://vimeo.com/102821486

"I woke with this marble head in my hands — it exhausts my elbows and I do not know where to put it down.

It was falling into the dream as I was coming out of the dream so our life became one and it will be very difficult for it to separate again.” George Seferis — Mythistorema 3

https://vimeo.com/102995513

ten years on — a blog celebrating memories of the ceremony — with new documentary material by Athina Rachel Tsangari

http://birthplace2004.com

Utter Perfection......

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I really wished Dimitris Papaioannou will come to London and do some of his performance pieces here. Some of the recent pieces I seen on his website are just breathtaking, and totally up my street. Otherwise I would really fly to Athens just to see his pieces live. Such a great artist, wished he's more celebrated the world over.

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He reminded me of Marina Abramovic, those visionary performance artist whose works transcends the body and stage to touch us in an emotional way.

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Athens is a bittersweet Games for me. If anyone remembers from the months leading up to Athens I was one of the most vocal critics. In retrospect it was justified but shortsighted. Given the options in 1997 things could have turned out a lot worse. The art of Athens was impeccable, by far the best of any Olympics in my opinion. The Ceremony is one of the few that is re-watchable and is creative, beautiful and entirely fitting of the host and the occasion.

The bitter part was Canada's horrid performance. The disastrous 8th inning against Cuba in the semis, the BS result in the boxing quarterfinals. David Ford's heartbreaking 4th place in the K1 slalom, disappointment in the diving pool. It was disappointing all-around.

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In the case of Athens it is not very fair to judge the Games under the circumstances in view of the very difficult financial condition that Greece is.

But lets put some things straight

1. Organisation wise the games were successful much more than some of the preceding games wanting it or not.

2. The opening ceremony was an artistic event and as such, not everyone will like it or has to like it for that matter. It may have appealed more to people that have a specific background and specific educational background (and you can see than sometimes in the nationality of the commentators) while others failed to connect with it because they could not, or the creators failed to make them, understand the message. It was not some much what was shown it was more a message that the artist tried to present. It was not the technology or tricks shown it were the message. And believe it or not the whole Opening ceremony had a single story to tell which was unique in that respect compared to any other before or since.

3. The problems of the post-game use of the venues started long before Greece was in any financial constraint and just mirrored a certain disrespect to public property and funds that the Greek politicians and society has developed in the last decades and still, unfortunately has.

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Y don't u buzz off, Jose? I am sick & Tired of you correcting me & getting on my tail. GET YOUR OWN LIFE, willya??

I do have an own life. Unlike you who spents all your hours here trying to find anything to whine about :P

Plus, you're the one who's constantly correcting people, not me.

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/\/\/\ - this is directed at Victor's snarky comment.

Been there; done that. And it's NOT so great IMHO considering the financial mess that tiny nation found itself in after throwing a party they couldn't really afford. Am glad to see I'm not the only one who gets dewy-eyed over an irresponsibly-staged extravganza.

They should have made many of the venues temporary. Surely there was some international company out there that could do temporary sports venues for cheap. Then you wouldn't have had the needless costs (even if they weren't maintained) post Olympics. Other venues should have been sold off to their post Olympic use immediately.

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I do have an own life. Unlike you who spents all your hours here trying to find anything to whine about :P

Plus, you're the one who's constantly correcting people, not me.

WRONG! Have actually been spending less & less time at this site because of undesirable people like you.

Heal thyself, physician. :P

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They should have made many of the venues temporary. Surely there was some international company out there that could do temporary sports venues for cheap. Then you wouldn't have had the needless costs (even if they weren't maintained) post Olympics. Other venues should have been sold off to their post Olympic use immediately.

From what I understand, the Greeks opposed the idea of building completely temporary venues out of principle. They figured the birthplace of the Games should not do that. Someone please correct me if this wasn't the case.

Still, it boggles my mind that permanent venues for beach volleyball and softball were built.

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WRONG! Have actually been spending less & less time at this site because of undesirable people like you.

Heal thyself, physician. :P

That's weird.

I was almost sure that was what most users were doing because of you and another bunch of people. :P

From what I understand, the Greeks opposed the idea of building completely temporary venues out of principle. They figured the birthplace of the Games should not do that. Someone please correct me if this wasn't the case.

Still, it boggles my mind that permanent venues for beach volleyball and softball were built.

Which was a very stupid argument in my honest opinion. Why builiding permanent venues for sports which are not even that popular in Greece? Being the birthplace of olympics or not, one has to use logic and common sense before making white elephants like these. Now the volleyball and baseball venues, for example, suffer a big misuse and are bringing much more costs to an already ailing economy.

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Temporary venues seem expensive too. I guess you save on maintenance if you get rid of it but the costs seem outrageous and moving it seems like a scam too I.E. London's basketball arena (what ever happened to it???) Was there any temporary sports venue over 10000 seats that anyone can point to that was successfully moved after an Olympics or major event?

It's not very impressive to just say we can recycle the materials of a temporary venue, add up all the costs and services required from start to finish and it's just an outrageous scam probably. But you get loads of goodwill by being able to pretend you are doing something good.

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I wonder in 2004, when Twitter and Facebook is still not prevalent, how much details of the opening ceremony was leaked beforehand? Did the world know it was going to expect the stadium to be filled with water and such 'avant grade' ceremony?

Also who had the most say in approving the content/ direction of the ceremony proposed by Papaioannou? Was it a fully limitless vision shared and granted by Gianna Angelopoulos herself? Or was the government/ Prime Minister/ Ministry of Cultute was behind/ played a part in it?

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I was wondering that too after looking at the full scale rehearsal video posted above of the Cycladic head. Seems like there's no way it was a secret but without all the social media prying eye and spies maybe it was still a big surprise.

It was so incredible, it's daring simplicity, that serene pool, the perfect shade of blue light as a running theme accented with gold moments, incredible sounds and fire, the perfect incorporation of host culture and the human experience, it really was a cut above anything before or after that I've seen........this was truly the only ceremony I would say rose above artistic performance to true art. From beginning to end it played like one unified experience, I only wish I could have seen it person and had that memory.

The absolute pinnacle of Olympic ceremony achievement.........so far.

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The absolute pinnacle of Olympic ceremony achievement.........so far.

Agreed. That head rising out of the water. In other places, I guess it's called 'giving head'...the Greek way!!! :lol:

@Ikarus -- down u go on my IGNORE list.

Edited by baron-pierreIV

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They should have made many of the venues temporary. Surely there was some international company out there that could do temporary sports venues for cheap. Then you wouldn't have had the needless costs (even if they weren't maintained) post Olympics. Other venues should have been sold off to their post Olympic use immediately.

Well, a huge part if the problem was that they frittered away the first four years. By the time Gianna was back on board they had to move at light speed. Legacy planning takes a lot of time and they simply didn't have it. They had to get ready for the Games themselves and every other priority (finances, legacy) went out the window. It really is true that "haste makes waste." I've learned this in my own business. The Greeks put themselves in a bind by wasting those first four years and there were far-reaching negative consequences.

Temporary venues seem expensive too. I guess you save on maintenance if you get rid of it but the costs seem outrageous and moving it seems like a scam too I.E. London's basketball arena (what ever happened to it???) Was there any temporary sports venue over 10000 seats that anyone can point to that was successfully moved after an Olympics or major event?

It's not very impressive to just say we can recycle the materials of a temporary venue, add up all the costs and services required from start to finish and it's just an outrageous scam probably. But you get loads of goodwill by being able to pretend you are doing something good.

Yes , temporary venues don't save anywhere near as much money as some think. Probably the biggest savings comes from signing a relatively short lease for the land where the temporary venue is situated.

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Temporary venues seem expensive too. I guess you save on maintenance if you get rid of it but the costs seem outrageous and moving it seems like a scam too I.E. London's basketball arena (what ever happened to it???) Was there any temporary sports venue over 10000 seats that anyone can point to that was successfully moved after an Olympics or major event?

It's not very impressive to just say we can recycle the materials of a temporary venue, add up all the costs and services required from start to finish and it's just an outrageous scam probably. But you get loads of goodwill by being able to pretend you are doing something good.

The ideal solution is a fully permanant venue because it means no compromise in design or function or legacy.

Second choice is a semi-temporary venue (e.g. London's Aquatics Centre) where there is often compromise in aesthetic design, but the it functions well in both Games-mode and Legacy-mode.

Third choice is fully temporary venues (e.g. London's basketball arena). For large venues these are often expensive, but if there can be some reuse of the materials afterwards that's not a total waste of resources. And of course, in the case of the London basketball arena, rather than having a large area of prime real estate with a rusting venue sat on top of it, we're now getting hundreds of houses, a school etc.

Fourth choice....and a long, long way behind the other three, is a permanant venue which is left as a monument to the Games and never used again, taking up space which could be better used, and allowing the World's press to take pity on the lack of forethought.

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From what I understand, the Greeks opposed the idea of building completely temporary venues out of principle. They figured the birthplace of the Games should not do that. Someone please correct me if this wasn't the case.

Still, it boggles my mind that permanent venues for beach volleyball and softball were built.

I don't know if it was official policy, but a few Greeks here at the time said that was certainly the thinking: "The world would laugh at us if we had temporary venies".

I wonder in 2004, when Twitter and Facebook is still not prevalent, how much details of the opening ceremony was leaked beforehand? Did the world know it was going to expect the stadium to be filled with water and such 'avant grade' ceremony?

Hahah. No, I don't remember there being any social media leaks (as you say, not much in the way of social media at the time), but I remember on the eve of the ceremony (my first I would watch while on GamesBids) I found some pics on the wire agencies feeds of the rehearsal showing things like the centaur and parts of the klepsydra. I was so wondering if I should post them or not (they were all copyrighted to the press service, so I would have been really breaking lots of rules, both here and at work, and at the end decided not to, just posting here I'd seen there were going to be greek mythological elements in the show.

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I only wish I could have seen it person and had that memory.

The absolute pinnacle of Olympic ceremony achievement.........so far.

If you had been in the stadium, and forgot to take your binoculars, your memories might not be all that great.

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