on stadiums, politics, and rock

after several weeks of football immersion, i’ve been thinking that stadiums in south america [and in many other places] are sites in which sports, politics, and music often converged. without the funds for multiple scenarios, cities used stadiums for all sorts of public events. stadiums were the site of important political events, as large spaces ideal to congregate or imprison crowds. as large public arenas they were for large rock concerts. this singularity of site and multiplicity of events [perhaps this is too jargon-y a way to think about it?] is perhaps related to how these events were incorporated into popular music. hence many south americans grew up singing songs related to politics.

today, the role of stadiums has shifted and those memories are fading—politicians now operate through media and violence has shifted to more nuanced manipulation. political rallies prefer open spaces without barriers. at the same time, youtube has allowed information to re-emerge and become easily accessible. so while the new generations are growing up without these associations, the previous ones are remembering them. protest songs themselves are too many to list, but these ones in particular pick up on the strange links between football and politics in the continent.

1. estadio victor jara, santiago, chile

read about it listening to matador, by los fabulosos cadillacs

mira hermano en que terminaste por pelear por un mundo mejor

que suenan, son balas me alcanzan

me atrapan resiste, Victor Jara no calla

political event: the murder of victor jara [and many more]

2. estadio monumental, buenos aires, argentina

read about it listening to crimenes perfectos, by andres calamaro

me parece que soy de la quinta que vio el mundial ‘78

me toco crecer viendo a mi alrededor paranoia y dolor

political event: the ‘78 world cup during the argentinian dictatorship

for nicer memories, there is dieguitos y mafaldas by joaquin sabina on the bombonera stadium. however, the club that plays in the bombonera, boca junior, has its training facilities close to a recently discovered underground detention center. here the metaphor of hidden associations is all too literal:

on dissappearance: los dinosaurios by charly garcia [in an mtv special, of all places, but it’s hard to get good sound from his older performances].

3. estadio olimpico universitario, d.f., mexico

political event: the ‘68 olimpics were took place in the context of the tlatelolco massacre, 10 days before, in the plaza de las tres culturas.

the stadium itself is the site where tommie smith and john carlos protested against racism by performing the black power salute during the medal ceremony for the 200m.

no song, but you can listen to estadio azteca, by calamaro, on the estadio azteca which was also an olympic site.

ps. for more on tlatelolco, read Luis Casteneda, “Beyond Tlatelolco: Design, Media, and Politics at Mexico ′68,” in Grey Room Summer 2010, No. 40: 100–126.


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