Should we abolish the Olympics?


The cancellation of the 2020 Olympic Games marked the first time the event had been postponed in its 57-year history. Currently slated to go ahead in Tokyo in July 2021, the Olympics are the catalyst for the latest pseudo-reality performance by Loren Kronemyer and Ian Sinclair, who together form experimental live art duo Pony Express.

Abolish the Olympics transforms the gallery space into a mini arena, with Kronemyer and Sinclair performing shorthand versions of 32 Olympic sports in gridded sections marked out across the floor. Audience participation is encouraged. “It is a one-hour ritualised version,” says Kronemyer. “Ian and I have our team uniforms, lockers, audience seating and all the ingredients of the Olympic village condensed into this extremely tight space. It’s a collage of the Olympics ephemera but with much more of an anarchist spin.”

Influenced by the activism of Los Angeles-based group NOlympics, Kronemyer and Sinclair are exploring the immediate spectacle of sporting events and the long-term effects that remain in hosting communities after the Olympics have moved on. “Ian grew up in Sydney and I grew up in LA which are both former and future Olympic cities,” explains Kronemyer. “When the Olympics roll into town they cause enormous housing displacement for low income and minority communities, and they escalate the level of police brutality and privacy incursions.”

Offering a safe space to explore and question the ramifications of competitive sports, Abolish the Olympics allows viewers the freedom to come to their own conclusions. As Sinclair puts it, “We are taking a deep dive into both sides. Who are the organisations working with and against the Olympics? What happens to athletes after the games finish and what does excellence really mean? We hold it all up equally.”

Abolish the Olympics
Pony Express
Contemporary Art Tasmania
10 June—11 July

This article was originally published in the May/June 2021 print edition of Art Guide Australia.

Preview Words by Briony Downes