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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

Wednesday, Oct. 22


English teachers can expect to receive a few useful pointers today from Evgeny Kalashnikov, the British Council regional teacher, during the EFL Seminar this afternoon hosted by the British Book Center. The topic of todays seminar is Grammar Practice.


Young Petersburgers will get the chance to jumpstart their careers at Professional Growth, a job fair and forum featuring more than 40 major Russian and international companies vying for potential candidates for future positions. The forum not only is a chance to network but also to learn more about the modern business world and to understand what it takes to get the job you want.



Thursday, Oct. 23


AmChams Public Relations Committee meeting is scheduled to meet this morning at 9 a.m. in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center.


Sportsmen get their chance to stock up on all kinds of gear at the Hunting and Fishing 2014 exhibition starting today at Lenexpo. Everything from rods and reels to boats, motorcycles and equipment for underwater hunting will be on sale so that any avid outdoorsman can always be prepared.



Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBAs ongoing Breakfast with the Director series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at Sounds of the Universe, a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the clubs website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit Neophobia at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBAs Marketing and Communications Committees round table discussion on Government Relations Practices in Russia this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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