School of Resistance The Moscow Trials
The images of the trial against Pussy Riot were broadcasted across all media. Because of a 5-minute performance in the Moscow Cathedral of the Savior, three of the activists of Pussy Riot were finally sentenced to two years in prison. The Moscow Trials (2013) stage the story of a campaign itself staged by the state and the church against inconvenient artists, restaging it with the means of political theatre. A courtroom was set up in the Sakharov Center in Moscow, the site of the exhibition Beware, Religion, destroyed in 2003. A show trial featuring the most important players in the Russian culture war pits “art” against “religion” a “dissident” Russia against a “true” one. In the form of an open-ended courtroom drama, from cross-examinations, pleas, and the arguments on the sidelines of the trial, a disturbing and contradictory picture of today's Russia emerges: Does Putin's cultural policy violate freedom of expression and human rights? Or is it art who is, after all, hurting the feelings of the faithful? Who is the aggressor, who the defender?
The talk following the screening explores the potential of artistic strategies as acts of revolt. Curator and dramaturge Florian Malzacher discusses with artist and curator Victoria Lomasko, art historian Sandra Frimmel and Academy member Thomas Ostermeier the possibilities and the limits of resistant art.
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