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NOM and the Art of the Absurd

Local arts collaborative takes the grotesque to extremes on a new album that is released this week.

Published: May 8, 2013 (Issue # 1758)



  • NOM are politically engaged but pursue their activism through art.
    Photo: Svetlana Vasina

NOM, the St. Petersburg arts collaborative active in music, visual arts and film, continues to explore human nature, the particularities of the Russian character and the current state of the country in its trademark grotesque way on its new album, In the Animal World (V Mire Zhivotnykh), to be premiered in Moscow and St. Petersburg this week.

While the collaborative maintains they are not political activists, its 26year history is nevertheless marked by consistent challenges to the powers-that-be, through its multi-genre, politically engaged work.

Art and Politics, in the Studio and on the Streets

NOM started out in Leningrad during perestroika in 1987, when Soviet society began to open and censorship was becoming less strict, but now finds itself in disagreement with the increasingly stifling atmosphere of Putins Russia.

Kagadeyev and other members of NOM took part in the most important protest marches against electoral fraud and the re-installment of Putin last year.

Kopeikin and I even made arty placards, and the march was really massive, [even though temperatures were] below minus 30 degrees centigrade, he said, The crowd stretched from Oktyabrsky Concert Hall to Mikhailovsky Palace.

Although massive protests were followed by political repression, Kagadeyev suggests that NOMs work is helping to change things, even if the result is not immediately apparent.

What we do somehow influences peoples minds, perhaps the young ones, but it will have its effect at some time in the future, he said.

So far [pro-Kremlin pop band] Lyube and a tear on the cheek of our beloved re-elected president are todays realities, unfortunately.

The Kremlins attacks on freedom of speech and dissent conceal the total corruption going on behind closed doors, according to Kagadeyev.

As [Viktor] Pelevin wrote rightly in his last book, the objective of our states activities is to make the life of its citizens as unbearable as possible, he said.

And the main thing is that everybody understands that concrete deals are made behind the scenes, [by people who are] all practical and industrious, but essentially thieves. But were supposed to accept the façade.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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