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http://www.e-flux.com/journal/in-defense-of-the-poor-image/

Hito Steyerl on cinema as the flagship store of imaging technologies and the importance of resolution. This speaks to the performance of camera and imaging technologies within the Olympics coverage, with cameras and screens as non-human high-performance bodies. The relationship between sporting events and leading-edge camera technologies is always in a dance with increasingly high-quality consumer technologies. This is a dynamic that frames the professional, authentic and authoritative as distinct from the amateur, copied and unofficial. In cinema, 3D and the rise and rise of post-production as the main game is in part an attempt to ensure that the ‘live’ event of cinema and the film industry retain economic viability. With the Olympics, it’s part of brand protection, what happens when the IOC realizes that it can’t control the production and circulation of images, but it can mark out its own products as distinct from the images produced by by-standers and posted to YouTube. Although Steyerl’s piece ends with the rather messianic statement that ‘In short: [the poor image] is about reality’, the piece articulates some of what I’m discussing in my Olympic screens writing – on the varied aesthetics of Olympic screen media, which encompasses both ultra high res and the poor image-making of the activist. Why the Olympics are interesting in this regard is that the palate of locales, sites and landscapes are the same. The differences are enacted through technologies, framing, composition, editing and performance context.

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