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The Olympics, online for everyone

Cultural Olympiad goes high-tech with CODE projects



Those of us in Whistler will only have to hop on a bus to join in with the Olympic festivities. But Olympic organizers have also found a way to include people from all over the world in the 2010 Games. And as it turns out, they're only a few keystrokes and mouse-clicks away.

Rae Hull is the creative director of the Cultural Olympiad Digital Edition (more commonly known as CODE), a new concept for the Olympics and one that has been created specifically for the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

"CODE was created to really take advantage of the extent to which digital provides us with opportunities that would have been impossible before now," Hull explained.

The CODE program is broken up into five parts - Canada CODE, Code Motion Pictures, CODE Screen 2010, CODE Live and a CODE publishing unit - all of which are designed to transform audiences from passive spectators to active participants, able to engage, explore and celebrate arts and culture.

"We created five projects, really, that all illustrate a different aspect of the arts and also invite participation in different ways," Hull said.

"CODE is the umbrella title for a series of projects that were really designed to celebrate the fact that digital gives us such incredible flexibility to include more people, to put more of Canada's cultural content and talent online to global audiences."

Canada CODE is an online grassroots digital collaboration of text and photos created by Canadians. They've already received many submissions from Whistlerites for Canada CODE, one of which is an evergreen tree growing along the Lost Lake trails that has been decorated by passersby. People can register online to "remix" the submission as well, creating multimedia slideshows that merge their own photos and text with submissions from others. They can even set the show to music.

CODE Motion Pictures is a collection of more than 70 short films about the human body in motion.

"As part of that project, we actually commissioned 16 new films, so the rest of the films are curated from existing content," said Hull. "But with our partners Telefilm Canada and the Association of Provincial and Territorial Film Financing Agencies, we were able to actually offer this great opportunity to filmmakers from across the country to create new films and to have it in front of Olympic audiences."

They received more than 200 submissions for the program.

"They actually do also reflect different corners of the country, different cultures," Hull said. "Really, when you put them together it's so delightful because they all celebrate the theme of the human body in motion and at the same time in subtle and yet really meaningful ways, they also illustrate the entire country."