The Elections spawn a new type of Protest Art in Russia

RIA Novosti image of the protests, March 5, 2012

Last Wednesday, as part of a series of conversations sponsored by artist residency Dar al-Ma’mûn, visitors to the Marrakech Biennale gathered for “A Spring of Images?,” a panel hosted by Dar al-Ma’mûn’s Omar Berrada that featured WJT Mitchell and Rasha Salti trading images of the Occupy movements, the Tea Party and recent images from Syria. What was clear that while the spirit may have had similarities, the forms and format were taken specifically from each situation.

Today, fledgling site Artspace trumpeted “The Emboldening of Russia Protest Art,”  in reference to an upcoming exhibition curated by provocateur Marat Guelman at the Museum of Modern Art in Perm. The exhibition indulges in exactly on what critic and curator Katya Degot was warning the Moscow public about when she pleaded, “Less Art!” for a more effective protest.

Amidst the debates, however, it has become impossible to ignore a very specific strand of art that emerged over Russian social networks Sunday, as volunteer “observers” linked up with the live feed cameras installed as a token gesture against election fraud. (We said “token.”)

The liberal-minded website, The Village, has compiled a selection of some of the more creative responses (which ranged from obsessive screen-shotting and Facebook-tagging one’s self and one’s friends in the act of voting/waiting to vote to potentially staged situations involving slumbering guards, bump-and-grind dance-parties, and ominous emptiness), but one need only to click on one or two videos on Youtube to be lead into a spiral of obsessive documentation.

[[UPDATED: More videos can be found on this compilation from Openspace.]]

We invite you to explore. Meanwhile, we’re still scratching our heads about the status of these gestures: Protests? Artworks? Interventions? Pranks? Or maybe something else entirely?

An announcement of a protest playing off of the 50's classic, "Moscow Doesn't Believe in Tears"

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