|Arnold van Bruggen,Rob Hornstra
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“Never before have the Olympic Games been held in a region that contrasts more strongly with the glamour of the Games than Sochi. Just twenty kilometers away is the conflict zone Abkhazia. To the east, the Caucasus Mountains stretch into obscure and impoverished breakaway republics such as North Ossetia and Chechnya. On the coast, old Soviet-era sanatoria stand shoulder to shoulder with the most expensive hotels and clubs of the Russian Riviera. By 2014 the area around Sochi will have been changed beyond recognition.”
Arnold van Bruggen, Author, in The Sochi Project
The Olympics conjure images of pageantry, sportsmanship, and celebration. Cities around the globe vie for the honor of hosting the Olympic games, and winners pour time and resources into developing an Olympic setting that will “wow” the world. But how does this upheaval affect everyday life in a city, and what does all the media fanfare divert attention away from?
Collaborators Rob Hornstra and Arnold van Bruggen delve into these questions with The Sochi Project, an investigation of the Russian resort town chosen to host the 2014 Winter Olympics. Described by its creators as “slow journalism,” the team embedded itself in Sochi and spent the years between Russia’s selection by the Olympic committee in 2007 and the games in 2014 investigating and observing—they saw both slow changes and some things that remained entirely the same. The Sochi Project features eight essay-length sections of in-depth written reporting on different aspects of the Games, the city, and nearby areas of Russia plagued by on-going conflict. Embedded within each section are photographs, audio, and video materials that allow visitors to explore the issues further.