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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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Friday, Nov. 28


Join table-top game aficionados at the British Book Centers Board Game Evening. Held every Friday at 5 p.m., aficionados and amateurs alike can come take part in a variety of different games that test ones intellect and cunning.



Saturday, Nov. 29


Cats, dogs, birds, rodents and reptiles are just some of the things that will walk and crawl at Lenexpo convention center this weekend as part of Zooshow, a two-day exhibition featuring not only mans best friends but a four-legged fashion show, as well as a food fair that will help pet owners find out more about which kibbles are best for their hungry pets.



Sunday, Nov. 30


Remember the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Russo-Finnish war in 1939 during todays reenactment titled Winter War: How it Was. More than 200 people will take part in recreating the opening salvoes of the battle for the north in Kamenka, a small village situated between Vyborg and St. Petersburg, using authentic equipment and vintage vehicles from the era. The faux battle begins at 2 p.m.



Monday, Dec. 1


Serbia filmmaker Emir Kusturica is the featured guest this evening at the Lensovet Palace of Culture the Petrograd Side. Fans of the director will get the chance to watch his movie Black Cat, White Cat, as well as ask questions about his award-winning filmography. Tickets for the event, which starts at 7 p.m., start at 2,000 rubles ($42.50).



Tuesday, Dec. 2


Today is the final day of Takoy Festival, a three-week program of plays based on the works of Dostoevsky, Remarque and other famed European writers, whose work is transcribed for theatrical performances. Tonights festival finale is Fathers and Sons, a two-act drama staged by the Novosibirsk Academic Drama Theater based on Turgenevs classic about familial relations.



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