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INTERSECT

SCULPTURE

Intersect is a model of a possible monument intervention for the 1904 Olympic Rings on Washington University's campus. Accompanied by this website: https://audeepdcariens.wixsite.com/intersect (shown below).

Completed in Sculpture Material and Culture

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intersect

We constitute a suffocating divide,

The people contorted.

 

What are the bodies for?

 

To watch fists bleed.

          To bottle their sweat.

                     To see them in a cage.

 

Bathe in the refraction,

See your face again.

Gold hangs around the neck.

What do you see?

 

A market.

         A sale.

                A message.

 

Guised as an anthem,

But a flag that leaks.

 

After, it is believed,

champions remain.

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Len Taunyane, left, and Jan Mashiani of the Tswana Tribe of South Africa.

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The Olympic rings stand as one of the most recognizable symbols of athletic glory, representative, wherever they go, as the pinnacle of achievement by the human body. In St. Louis, the legacy of that championship was just beginning. The 1904 Olympics, commencing on Francis Field, was an enormous moment for athletes globally to come to America and for the nation to present itself to the world in the wake of Westward expansion. 

 

For many objective reasons, it was a failure. Instead of serving the world, it served a handful of nations at best. Instead of promoting the country, athletes experienced the worst competing conditions at a global athletic event. Yet, we still celebrate. We, as a country, still accept those rings as a monument, and as a trophy. 

 

While it’s acceptable to celebrate the achievements of the first-ever black medalist and the first-ever indigenous participation, the only Olympics we preceded was Paris in 1900. As bodies were meant to be celebrated for physical prowess, bodies were instead measured to scientifically prove the superiority of the white race, flaunted to inflate American nationalism, and redacted to make the results mathematically sound. 

 

The 1904 Olympics should be known for being a cultural and historical intersection of all racial discrimination that existed at that time, all disguised as an athletic tournament with a hint of scientific experiments. However, the rings are still untouchable as a national monument and the crimes that took place on the field remain unacknowledged. 

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