At what cost?
Singapore, 13th August 2012
With last night’s closing ceremony of the London Olympics behind us, we may just stand still at what costs such events come, to the organisers specifically and to the (tax paying) public in general. On a smaller scale this applies too, Olympics or any of our lighting projects. Of course in the private sector it is the prerogative of the owner/ client, but in the public sector it needs to be justified to the tax payers who in the end pay for it.
While the closing ceremony, like the opening ceremony, was spectacular on many fronts, you wonder whether some of the, I have been told, $14 Billion (!) dollars should have been spent elsewhere. Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony alone was costed at more than $40 Million! There are plenty of financial worries in the Eurozone! I read that the 14 Billion is more than 3 times the original estimates…how do they work that? Where did they get the additional money from? If my original lighting budget estimate would be as far of as that, I don’t think I would ever be asked again! Yet for country and for glory spending 14 instead of 4 billion dollars is somehow ok. Yes I know Olympic Games bring in a lot of immeasurable long term financial business to a country (tourism spending?), but as seen from previous Games, many of the venues become derelict soon after.
In our lighting projects similar things happen…there is a lot of ego and “show-off” happening at times with grand opening having all the lighting fanfare, but when you return to the “scene” many years later you are often hard pressed to find the many glorious lights you left behind. Poor maintenance and expensive operation render some of the lighting as “unnecessary” and as a result it is slowly faded out of use…Will London do better?
Light Watch 3-121: Images from last night’s closing ceremony. One of the biggest LED applications using the nearly 80,000 seat stadium as a screen could be seen in the background, notably during the performances and George Michael’s Freedom song. If I heard it correctly from the broadcast more than 650,000 LED’s were used, mounted in between the seats. It was surprising to hear the TV presenter actually going as far as technically describing the LED installation, but being in the wee hours of the morning when I watched, I can’t remember the exact details, but the pictures show it clear enough.
Next stop Rio!