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chernovs choice

Published: September 21, 2011 (Issue # 1675)


The art group Voina has asked international artists to boycott the 4th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art that opens on Friday, Sept. 23 for exhibiting a work that does not belong to the group under its name.

The work in question is the Kiss the Cops stunt, which was staged in Moscow by former Voina members Pyotr Verzilov and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and a number of volunteers earlier this year. During the stunt, female activists forced kisses on policewomen on duty in the Moscow metro.

The video documenting the stunt was uploaded onto YouTube on Feb. 28, four days after Leonid Nikolayev and Oleg Vorotnikov, who did three months in prison, were released on bail paid by British graffiti artist Banksy in St. Petersburg.

On March 1, Voina made a statement denouncing the stunt and denying any involvement with it.

Alexei Plutser, who documents every Voina stunt with photos and text descriptions in his Livejournal.com blog, said then that Verzilov and his girlfriends had been kicked out of Voina for allegedly handing in a Kiev activist to the Ukrainian police in November 2009.

(The activist, Alexander Volodarsky, spent six weeks in prison and three months in a penal colony in Ukraine before he was released on July 22.)

Plutser also noted that the Kiss the Cops stunt appeared to have been timed to coincide with the much-publicized release of Nikolayev and Vorotnikov in order to draw maximum attention from the public.

The video and photographs of the stunt are scheduled to be part of Media Impact. International Festival of Activist Art, an exhibit within the biennale.

In a statement Friday, the real Voina wrote that the activists have been deprived of the opportunity to take legal action against the Moscow curators because they are still under investigation, while Vorotnikov and his wife Natalya Kozlyonok Sokol are on a police wanted list and in hiding.

In their response to Voina posted on the Internet on Sunday, the organizers refused to withdraw the work, saying that Verzilov and Tolokonnikova claim they have the same right to the name Voina as the other members, and that the organizers have no way of influencing the names of participants.

Meanwhile, the media appears to be confused again as many preview articles for the Biennale mention Voinas award-winning Dick Captured by the KGB stunt on Liteiny Bridge in St. Petersburg in June 2010, the groups criminal charges and Banksys support.

These are in fact what Voina is best-known for, and none of this has anything to do with Verzilov and Tolokonnikova.

Meanwhile, footage of the real Voinas stunts was included last week in an official video for the protest song State Bulldozer by the Moscow band Center. The video is available on YouTube and the bands web resources.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Oct. 30


Dental-Expo St. Petersburg 2014 concludes today at Lenexpo. Welcoming specialists from throughout the federation, the forum is an opportunity for dentists to share tricks of the trade and peruse the most recent innovations in technology and equipment, with over 100 companies hocking their wares at the event.



Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Centers Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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