Vision of sustainability local and global in the Winter Olympic Games 1994
Materias Investigacion::Arquitectura
Agenda 21
Issue Date: 
Servicio de Publicaciones Universidad de Navarra
Popa, S.C., (2016) ""Vision of sustainability local and global in the Winter Olympic Games 1994"" En: Alcolea, R.A, Tárrago-Mingo, J., (eds.), en Congreso internacional: Inter photo arch ""Interpretaciones"", celebrado en Pamplona, los días 2 al 4 de Noviembre de 2016, (pp. 152-165)
Two interpretations of the concept of sustainability will be approached in this paper by offering a reading of one key photograph produced on the occasion of the Lillehammer Winter Olympic Games held in Norway in 1994. The image by American photographer Jim Bengston, taken during one of the ski-jumping sessions in Lillehammer, is constituted by an interesting combination of elements that fuel a forensic investigation into two visions of sustainability. The Olympic event has been used as a catwalk for what was at that time the recently adopted green agenda of the United Nations, Agenda 21, materializing the international aspirations towards the concept of sustainable development. But the vision of sustainability prescribed within the pages of the green agenda issued by the United Nations opposes another interpretation of sustainability manifested at a local level, one that draws on specific geographical, traditional and cultural constraints. Therefore, the role of the local affiliation to Nature in the international debates around sustainable development, theorized by Christian Norberg-Schulz and translated into architecture by the designers of the event, will constitute the object of study of this paper. Key writings by Carlo Ginzburg and Roland Barthes produce the means to handle the clues available in the image by Bengston. The concepts within these texts will enable us to place them in a context that allows for a profound understanding of the tensions that led to the configuration of this edition of the Winter Games. Photography was not only central to representing the multiple facets of the 1994 Winter Olympic Games held in Lillehammer, but also played an important role in the construction of the event’s legacy. Its functions both as a critical instrument and as a key provider of historic documentation is highly visible on the occasion of this historic megaevent. Therefore, the comprehending analysis of this photograph cannot be dissociated from a thorough understanding of the event itself in all its complexity, an event characterized by an interlocking of distinct tendencies.
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