Rolling dodecahedron, performance prop, 'Rollahedron', medium density fibreboard/plastic, used at Sydney 2000 Olympic Games closing ceremony, Australia, 2000
This object has significance in material culture due to its role in the 'Let's Party' segment of the closing ceremony of the 2000 Olympic Games, an important event in the recent history of Sydney and NSW. It has the potential to communicate in exhibitions and publications about the Games and has significance in its design, making, use and in the cultural meanings ascribed to it.
The closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games took place on Sunday 1 October at Stadium Australia, Homebush Bay. It included solemn formalities, an informal parade of athletes and a farewell party that took the form of an unregimented parade with floats that celebrated and often mocked aspects of Australian popular culture. The intention was to conduct the ceremony with decorum until the extinction of the Olympic flame, and then to unleash a party. The artistic director of the closing ceremony David Atkins explained 'The athletes have finished competition, and are ready to party, and we have set about creating a party to end all parties. We have decided to invite everyone into our giant Australian backyard - fully equipped with Hills Hoists, barbecues, an eclectic mix of music, performers and all manner of Australiana. Australians have a tradition of throwing great parties, and this one will be imbued with a sense of fun, larrikinism and goodwill.' According to Ric Birch (speaking on Channel 7's 'Olympic Sunrise'), the opening ceremony was to represent Australia at large, but the closing ceremony was Sydney's show.
This object is one of the rolling dodecahedrons (geometrical figures with twelve faces, known to the performers as 'rollerhedrons') that appeared on the arena shortly after the start of the 'Let's Party' segment, when the ceremony erupted into life and the less formal part of the celebrations took off in a uniquely Australian style. Stilt- walkers bearing Hills Hoists pranced around the stadium as Vanessa Amorosi, descending in a metallic cage from 30 metres above the stage, sang her hit song 'Absolutely Everybody' to a Latin beat in a futuristic production that included pyrotechnics and robotic stilt- walkers pushing the rollerhedrons.
As the ceremony unfolded the proliferation of suburban images such as Hills Hoists, blowflies, lifesavers and thongs was treated with self- deprecating irony rather than clichÂ?. The wit and quality of the 'Parade of Icons' showed the influence of the late Peter Tully as artistic director of the Mardi Gras in, for example, the 'pit chicks' in silver hot pants who carried the eyelashes, stiletto shoes and giant mascara for the Priscilla bus.
The opening ceremony told a mythic story of nation-building that dwarfed individuals. It was evocative and subtle. The closing ceremony, however, celebrated personality, celebrity and attitude. Loud and brash, more like a rock concert than a profoundly theatrical event, it was an extravagant send-off -- fun, festive, shamelessly excessive and, for an international audience, decidedly weird.
John King, Redfern, Sydney 2000
Ceremonies Eveleigh Workshop, Redfern, Sydney, 2000 The frame is of angle or tube aluminium welded. Internal frame covered with MDF and silver plastic sheeting. The frame fabrication was difficult and required constant re-welding of stressed joints during rehearsals on the asphalt surface at Schofields.
Sydney 2000 Olympic games-Let's Party segment, Stadium Australia, Sydney Olympic Park, Homebush, 1 October 2000.
Made for and owned by the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, and donated to the Powerhouse Museum after the Games.