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How are Media Used to Evoke Remembrance of Past Events?: 

How are Media Used to Evoke Remembrance of Past Events? WELCOME HOME Brief Interpretation of the opening ceremony of Olympic Games, Greece, 2004

Interpretation of HOME: 

Interpretation of HOME Let’s have a look how these past events are represented at the special moment in Athens This 3-D axis is designed to give us a general idea of the significant events which occurred throughout the history of Greece, many of which were portrayed in the opening ceremony. The idea of this axis is not to show what exactly happened, but to visualize the idea of emergence of time and space and the idea that the ancient Greece is the birth place of western civilization. Each dot represents a great figure or event. All those events happened thousands of years ago, traverse through time and space and finally converge at one point, the 28th Olympiad, Athens, Greece, 2004.

2 hours in Acropolisto Stadium 3000 years of Experience : 

2 hours in Acropolisto Stadium 3000 years of Experience I. The ceremony began with hundreds of drummers marching into the stadium, pounding to the rhythm of a heartbeat. Two drummers, one from 3000 years ago and one from the present time meet in the stadium, crossing time and space. Voice from the announcer: “Three thousand years ago, Olympiad, the race began” Voice from the announcer: “Marble carvings date back 6000 years ago…Greek is first known in western Europe. Marble human figure represent the start of the journey of mankind, as the ideas of philosophy, mathematics, politics, theatre, and democracy itself all began here in Athens. Greece is not just the birth place of 1st ancient Olympics, but the birth place of western civilization…” II. After a centaur, the mythical half man, half horse, threw a lance symbolizing a comet into the water to light the five-ring Olympic symbol, a massive white marble human figure rose from the water. Later the marble split into pieces and a man stepped out. Note the reflections on the piece. This process represents the journey of mankind across time and space. III. After representing ancient Greece’s contributions to the world, the performance continued its succession of time, looking toward the future of human beings - the double helix of DNA. To everyone's surprise, two astronauts from the international space station sent their best wishes to the Olympics and the world. Voice from the announcer: “ The journey’s into the future now, from the past of ancient Greek astronomers named the constellations and the galaxies and modern scientist started probing the inner secrets of nature itself.” “Double helix of DNA…symbolic journey of man’s first attempt to understanding himself to the most recent and profound discovery “ A journey cross time and space to evoke people’s remembrance of past events meanwhile to lead people’s belief into the future. climax

Uses of Symbolic Images in the Whole Performance: 

Uses of Symbolic Images in the Whole Performance Symbolic images serve as codes or triggers to evoke national memory2— The Greeks were the first to formulate many of the Western world’s fundamental concepts in politics, philosophy, science, and art. At this special moment, it becomes the memory of the world. These formalized physical performance and symbolic images display to people: Suggestion of solidity, stability, structure and organization Suggestion of flexibility, variability and personal interpretations3. These images evoked my previous knowledge about ancient Greece, helping me to understand the performance as a whole. However, as I grew up in a world with oriental myths and fables where the social system is totally different from that of western countries, my understanding must differ from Michael or other students in the seminar room. Therefore, simplification and centralization of the meanings of the performance and the images are necessary, helping to unify people’s interpretation4. In the case of the opening ceremony, this is achieved by the official address to the stadium audience and the billions of viewers worldwide.


Three Key Figures at the Ceremony Greek President Costis Stephanopoulos Officially announced the beginning of the 28th Olympiad. International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge Addressed the speech to the world to appreciate the great job Greece has done and to welcome everyone to take part in the great event. Her speech anchored the meaning of the whole ceremony by giving definition to all those symbols used in the previous performance. Such a process of centralization and simplification helped every audience to create a similar recognition of the ceremony, the Olympics and Greece. Chairwoman of Greek Olympic Organizing Committee Gianna Angelopoulos Delivered her speech to 75,000 dignitaries, officials and spectators inside the main Olympic Stadium and an estimated global television audience of four billion, behind her is an olive tree, the symbol of Athens.


Unique Olympic homecoming Athletes of the world Heirs of Coroevus Valor, Form, Youth Fiercely, peacefully Give life to our highest ideal The very definition of beauty Give flight to Our souls Where it all began Citizens of the world With solemn pride and responsibility New and modern Expression of Greece Fire the world’s imagination Complete its global journey Greatest celebration of humanity Understanding Gianna’s Speech4 Words and phrases used to address to the audiences Pierre de Coubertin said that: “Célébrer les Jeux Olympiques, c'est se réclamer de l'histoire”; “holding an Olympic Games means evoking history”. Quotes from the Speech: Last night, the Flame lit the Acropolis. Tonight it will complete its global journey and shine before us all.  In one day, it has traveled 3.000 years of our history, from the Acropolisto this Stadium, the modern symbol of our Games.


Public memory is created to replace historical knowledge,…While history is written in order to construct public memory. Thus a seemingly endless cycle of reproduction and reinforcement is always ready in train. In week 10’s lecture on the topic of Time and Space, Michael quoted James Young’s argument that ‘it is only the unity of shared ceremony, which creates the sense of unity of a shared past…in heeding the traditional call to “remember events as if they happened to us,”…’ I chose the Olympic opening ceremony as I think it is a good example of the use of a particular medium to evoke people’s remembrance of past events. At this “shared ceremony”, we experience history crossing time and space, merging with the present to create our future. And one day such future will become our shared history.For example, the 28th Olympic Games is already recorded in the human history. The ceremony itself has both connotative and denotative meanings. Interpretation of those symbolic images differ from person to person. The speech delivered by the chairwoman denoted those fantastic symbols, meanwhile connoting them into a deeper sense of understanding. Summary Achievements of pride, of spirit, of national image and of success "an allegoric journey of the evolution of human consciousness ... from the mythological perception of the world to the logical," In two hours Remembrance of the past, History of the future


“Remembering one’s national history is not merely to learn about the experiences of others, but to make these experiences one’s own. It is to adopt a nation’s past as if it were one’s own past, and then to respond to the current world in light of this vicariously gained legacy. By creating the myth of a common past, …creates the conditions for recognizing a common future, as well.” 5 Reference: All the pictures used in this presentation is from the official website of the 28th Greek Olympic Games. / access date 23/10/04 Jarman, N. (1999). ‘Commemorating 1916, celebrating difference: Parading and painting in Belfast.’ In A. Fprty and S. Kuchler (eds) The Art of Forgetting, Oxford: Berg, pp 171-195 Jarman, (1999), p.173 Young, J. (1993). ‘When a day remembers: A performative history of Yom Hashoah.’ In The Texture of memory: Holocaust Memorials and Meaning. New Haven: Yale University Press, pp263-281

Any Questions?: 

Any Questions? Many thanks for Ola. Without her help, we would not have been able to watch the DVD of the ceremony today. And Thank you for your attention  25/10/04 Jingwei Li

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