The Olympics as Media Space
The Beijing 2008 Olympic Games from the Interdisciplinary Perspective of Media and Design Studies
The Olympic Games have become a distinctive form of the mediated public sphere for global and national audiences, on the one hand, and a great social laboratory for the employment of cutting-edge communication technologies and design strategies, on the other hand. In our view, an interdisciplinary approach of media and design is particularly relevant to our attempt to investigate an intricate interplay between material and immaterial environments that are configured by the media, sports and creative industry complex throughout the Olympics. Our research aims to provide a critical analysis of key public spaces of the Beijing Olympics from the media/design perspective with particular reference to media space. First, the paper critically assesses the contributions and the limitations of media and design studies in our understanding of the Olympics in the age of new media. Second, analyzing the case of the National Stadium of the Beijing Olympics, the paper examines the roles of the Olympic architecture and media in the promotion and interpretation of architectural practice, before and after the completion of the Olympic venues. In doing so, we intend to draw out theoretical and methodological implications for developing an interdisciplinary research on the Olympic Games in the fields of media, design and urban studies.