Collaborative art at the Olympics

When I first read the course description for this class and began to think of collaborative art I am familiar with, the first thing that popped into my mind (mostly because it was current) was the opening ceremony at the Beijing Olympics. As I was watching the ceremony it had crossed my mind, that it seemed like a pretty interesting idea to have so many people involved in one large scale artwork; especially an art work that evolved over the course of the evening (the rising sun that was originally drawn, was eventually colored into a smiley face, telling a completely different story).

It seemed to me at the time that this piece of work enveloped many ideas of performance art and collaborative art. However, after having read the article by Kaprow, I find that maybe the collaboration used in the Olympics was not fine collaborative art nor was it a "Happening". While many, many people were involved in the creation of this piece of work (all Olympians for the stripes, and performers) the concept of the piece, as well as the performance of the creation, were conceived by one man. If it is one man who has a clear idea of exactly how the performance will happen and almost exactly the final appearance of the work itself is it still a collaboration, or a single author's work in which the people become the media?

Also, with an audience who is non paticipatory, does the performance become just a stage show? I tend to disagree with the idea that just because there is an audience present, this discounts the work as fine art. At some point a group of people must reflect on the art in order for it to have meaning, they become the audience - regardless of whether they were involved in the creation or not.

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