TESTIMONIES was created by Lorenzo Belenguer in response to London residents looking to have a more active role in the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and aims to empower conversation about this historic event, to compare with the 1948 Olympic Games and provide a legacy.
A call to participate was sent out during 2010 via the Brent magazine (distributed to over 99,000 households), several sport associations, newspapers, Brent Council and Brent Artists’ Resource emailing lists, the Youth Parliament and many other distribution networks. The artist selected the participants with a special interest about the most inspiring stories and to show the great diversity in London.
TESTIMONIES records Londoners’ personal stories and expectations about the 1948 Olympic Games and London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. These are turned into video broadcasts and a Web App and will be seen in several venues during the summer 2012.
Munira Mirza, Advisor on Culture and Youth to the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, said: ‘We want as many Londoners as possible getting involved in the 2012 Games, being inspired by both the sporting action and the wide-ranging programme being planned as part of the Cultural Olympiad. TESTIMONIES is a wonderful project, connecting local people to one of the most exciting years in London’s history and creating a fascinating record for long after the athletes have run and the medals have been won.’
Lorenzo Belenguer, the lead artist and the project’s founder, explains that ‘this a grassroots art venture and its basic question is: what sort of relationship do we want Londoners to have with the Olympics?
If we want Londoners to play a bigger part in the London 2012 they have to be shown how their experiences matter, that you do not need to be a gymnast to be an integral part of the Games. By giving voice to some Londoners’ personal memories about the Olympics, we are showing what they have lived, what the relationship they have had and the relationship they do have with the Games. The implicit question is: what is yours?’
These are transcripts of recorded interviews conducted for the TESTIMONIES project. The interviews lasted an average of two hours and edited to about one minute per participant. Therefore, the reader should remember that this is essentially a transcript of the spoken, rather than the written, word. The complete interview can be listened from the Brent Archives.
Lorenzo Belenguer - Lead Artist