Never mind that the 2020 Summer Olympics is seven years off and still not slotted for any city in particular. Some folks in Madrid already want them out. They made that clear one chilly night last month by building the public artwork you see here, made from glowing bottles meant to summon the image of flaming Molotov cocktails.
The ominous unwelcome mat – seemingly the first grassroots protest against the 2020 Olympics, if you don't count this profane graffiti in Tokyo – was thrown down by Madrid's light-art clan, Luz Interruptus, which typically stages more peaceful installations with shimmering water fountains and light-up books. Luz is really upset about the chance of the massive sporting event landing in its hometown, though, so they chose a tactic that would strike fear, maybe, into the hearts of those sitting on the International Olympic Committee.
Here's the group explaining the meaning of the art, titled "Olympic Games As a Strategy for Destruction" (warning: the following text seems to be a product of Google Translate):
Taking advantage of the International Olympic Committee visit to Madrid, to evaluate the 'situation' of our city as a candidate to organize the 2020 Games, we went out into the street with our lights, to demonstrate our opposition to becoming the headquarters of these event of shame, that not only are not going to bring about any economic benefit to the citizens, (except for the construction industry), but are also going to cause us to sink a little further into the abyss of the budget deficit that is already causing worrying cuts in culture, health, education….
We ask ourselves if our leaders have stopped to think that with all the budget sacrifices that we are forced to accept in order to meet the demands of the IOC, we will probably have expensive infrastructure, but there won’t be any athletes capable of competing in them as the future generations won’t have the specific education, or health, or money, to prepare themselves or would have had to leave Spain, so that they can develop as elite professionals….
Hopefully, in the end, this megalomaniac event does not take place in our beloved city.
The artists spent a month collecting 500 beer and liquor bottles for this intervention, then took 6 hours arranging them into the Olympic rings in a park that Madrid is thinking of turning into a sporting facility should the Games come to town. (The IOC will make a decision in September between Madrid, Istanbul, and Tokyo.) They hoped that visiting brass from the Olympic committee would see it during their tour, although there's no indication that happened.
Still, to anybody passing by it was a highly visible statement against the Games that's both beauteous and loaded with palpable undertones of violence. You'd have to get quite close to notice the similarity to gas bombs, though – from afar, the installation might seem to be a statement in support of the Olympics.
Top photo and video by Gustavo Sanabria/Luz Interruptus