goforgold_280Go for Gold! is a look at the transformation of London’s landscape in preparation for the London 2012 Olympic Games. The Games has contributed to a massive social and geographical transformation of the Lower Lea Valley landscape; a dynamic that occurs every four years across the world in new Olympic cities.

The first series of images is from 2006-2007 when I photographed the future sports venues of the London 2012 Olympic Games. These images capture the last moments of the Lea Valley landscape before it was razed to make way for the Olympics’ international development programme.

The other series within this project is from 2007-2009 when I photographed the blue fence that surrounds the Olympic construction site – exploring how Olympic plans disrupt the connections between residents and their natural and built environment. Local residents have experienced Olympic construction through these barriers and hidden activities beyond their view.

Go for Gold!’s overarching message is a critique of how the Olympic Games have been transformed from a sporting to an economic event in which urban regeneration plays a major role. According to the promotional material, the Olympics will create a better environment for local residents through urban regeneration. My work questions this promise and I argue that the Olympics are mainly used to bolster London’s status as a global economic centre at the expense of local inhabitants’ needs. I encourage people to think about how the Olympics help London compete with other global cities to attract media attention, tourist travel and foreign investment, all for the benefit of large international corporations and not the local population – a trend also visible in other Olympic host cities.
Gesche Würfel

Go for Gold! will be exhibited at the Underground Gallery, London, from 26 July – 9 August 2012.