In December 2010, Jim Woodall spent two weeks on a rooftop in Hackney Wick, living in a self-made hut and surveilling the 2012 Games construction site. His Olympic State was mostly uneventful and slow-paced, the footage emerging as a monument to the patience and solitude of the observer. The hut was then reinstalled at See Studio, as the opening exhibition for an ongoing curatorial programme which investigates the Olympic event. The gallery, just a few hundred meters away from the rooftop, provided a new context for Olympic State: it substituted the radical solitude of the rooftop for the shared enjoyment of the installation available in the white cube, and it re-signified an otherwise solitary gesture as part of a collective pursuit.
“Reordering the urban landscape and undermining social control through playful detournements, Woodall takes pre-determined situations and subverts them. Olympic State is the first in a series of events staged in areas of land that are derelict due to being purchased and left vacant whilst awaiting an assignment of purpose from an authority. Known as “brown spaces” in civil planning terminology, many of these spaces bear signs indicating the future. They are “not now”, but “coming soon”.” (Alyssa Moxley)
Download the exhibition’s press release here
Images by Daren Ellis & Giles Price