The series looks at the heritage of Moscow 1980 Summer Olympics. The 1980 games became the last bright all nation event to happen in the USSR, the last big start meant to prove the superiority of Socialist regime and ideas of Communism over Capitalism.
Olympic buildings, mostly designed in 1975-1978, a period still marked with optimism and hopes for a bright future, acted as a manifestation of prosperity and power of the Soviet State. Up until very recently the very word Olympics in Russia mainly associated with the 1980 Moscow Olympics. This changed after the success of Russia's bid to host the 2014 winter games in Sochi, eventually marked by mass relocations of local residents, corruption scandals and constant growth of expenses.
While costs of Sochi olympic construction could be calculated and to an extent forecasted, the exact cost of 1980 Olympics remains unknown due to the specifics of Soviet planned economy. There is an opinion that the 1980 Olympics were at times close to failure due to unforeseen increases in costs, construction works lagging behind schedules (some of the venues are said to have been completed one day before competitions were to start), security concerns after Munich Olympics, the fear of political sabotage from «rival capitalist regime». Some go further to say that the USSR may have never fully recovered from the cost of the Olympics, and this could have been one of the reasons of its collapse.
The heritage of Moscow Olympics serves as an example of what may happen to Olympic venues in a time span of 30 years. Certain venues are still used as intended, some were adapted for new functions, some are left half abandoned. Many buildings did not blend into city structure, initially conceived like messengers from the Future they now look like aliens from the Past.
«Moscow Olympics» installation view at For a Multitude of Futures: Overcome the Limits of Immortality, the 5th Ural Industrial Biennale of Contemporary Art Main project. Venue: Ural Optical and Mechanical Plant. Ekaterinburg, Russia, 2019, curated by Xiaoyu Weng