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Disturbances lecture series: Pussy Riot and its prehistory - A short introduction to Russian activist art

In Kupoli, Uusi ylioppilastalo, Mannerheimintie 5 B 7th floor on Sunday
April 13th

Food available 4pm, Lecture 4.30pm

Russian avant-garde was once highly political art – art of new
life and hope, that was born during and first years after Russian

Stalinist reaction have destroyed these hopes as well as any independent
form of thinking – including avant-garde art.

Death of a Stalin gave chance for an independent intellectual life in
the deep underground. Here – in small underground groups, in the
kitchens of independent intellectuals from the generations of “janitors
and security guards”, contemporary Russian activist art was been born.

 “Collective Action”  whose often non-spectacular “Moscow romantic
conceptualist” performances staged in a deep countryside and D.A. Prigov
with his  micro-art on the streets of Moscow are among the most
influental persons of an activist art of that period.
The liberalisation of cultural and political life in the times of
Perestroika, the emigration of many famous non-conformist artist of a
Soviet union era gave a place for a couple of new radikal art practices
of 90s, where Moscow actionism – with the word “хуй» (dick) on the Red
Square by Э.Т.И., Dog performances by Oleg Kulik, and the dollar sign
written by Alexander Brenner on a Malevich painting in Stedelijk museum
are among the most bright signs of epoque which ended with an occupation
of a Lenin mausoleum by an “against all” movement and the first
political processes against activist artists – Avdey Ter-Oganyan and
Oleg Mavromatti.

The first half  and the middle of 2000s have seen a expansion of
anarchist art scene with movements and groups like MosRakh, PG, DSPA,
Contemporary art terrorism and a Grandmother after the funeral, as well
as a Marxist art of group “Chto delat?”, and, later a poetical actionism

The year 2007 – was the year of the first non-sanctioned mass protests
against growing authoritarianism and the year of a birth of a group
Voina (War), which had invented their own creative synthesis of the
complex conceptualist language of 70-80s, radical action art forms of
90s and countercultural anarchist lifestyle of 00's with a more broad
agenda of emerging movements of so-called united opposition.

This lead to a new wave in an activist art, which are actually continues

The now world famous Pussy Riot project are the real heirs of a part of
Voina, with a short-living project “militant-feminist faction of Voina”
between them.

But they are not the only one persons in Russian activist art – they
actually share the scene with a radical Saint-Petersburgh radical artist
Peter Pavlensky, whose becoming is closely related with a Pussy Riot
support campaign, anarchist art platform Media Impact that tries to
construct a horisontal collaboration between very various artists,
theoretists, activists, a quickly emerging and growing separatist
feminist scene that concentrates around the “Feminist pencil” project,
Yekaterinburgh street artist Tim Radya, as well as more academic, stable
and closed-space oriented Marxist art community.
Lecturer is Gray Violet, a russian art and queer activist, anarchist.
Participant of Voina, pussy riot support group, Media Impact.

In facebook:

Disturbances is an open series of lectures and discussions at the
crossroads of society, philosophy, history, economy and resistance.
We are already aware that we can not live as before, but we do not know
what the future holds. Others are stuck in the past, but we only want to
understand it. Even a small disturbance of an initial condition can lead
a system into a completely different state.
Our speakers are Finnish and international anti-authoritarian
researchers and activists. Events are organized in cooperation with
A-ryhmä and AutOp, two student groups of the University of Helsinki. You
may also follow lecture online (both real-time and recording)
at .
Our program is created by the participants themselves, if you want to
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