Stadium, 1988, except of 8′ from an original composition of 30′
The stadium of the 80’s asserts its prominence in our cityscape as contemporary landmark, a ubiquitous monument to the urban western world. Proclaimed by the industry as the new giant in public assembly facilities, it is the biggest game in town, and its impact on community and culture is similarly vast. In most urban centres theres is an ongoing competition for more elaborate stadiums, bringing with them technological feasts, developments in engineering and new applications of media. Derived from the ancient Greek stadion, indicating “a measure of distance”, today’s stadium has come to measure civic pride and success.
Muntadas’ installation refers to historical structures such as the Colosseum, which manifests, through its stupendous proportions and complex configuration, the strength of the Roman Empire itself, recalling brutal contests of man and beast, chariot races, impressive military displays, and martyrdoms of Christians, all of which took place within the public oval. These inciteful events, which required the kind of contained space offered by a stadium, are early examples of mass persuasion at the service of deliberate control.
With hindsight, a clearer analysis of mass manipulation for political gain is possible, but are we ourselves any better protected today, able to discriminate and be immune from invisible persuasions? Are the frenzied responses to sports stars, rock idols, political figures and religious leaders that occur in today’s ‘audience-support facilities’ any more discriminating than those of the past? it is difficult to resists, considering that along with the proven techniques there is now increased sophistication in communications media, as well as the impatient interests of capitalism.
Diana Augaitis from “Notes on Mass Events”