The Trial of Pussy Riot, coming to a Twitter feed near you

Peter Pavlensky’s performance from July 23, 2012

So, admittedly, we’ve kept our mouths shut about Pussy Riot this week, if only because so many other sources have sprung to cover the trial.

Actually, “keeping our mouths shut” may not be the most sensitive phrasing. The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Anthony Kiedis may have drawn the blogs with his homemade Pussy Riot t-shirt,  but it was relatively unknown Petersburg artist Peter Pavlensky who made the most shocking display of support, standing in front of Kazansky Cathedral with his lips sewn together, hoisting a billboard declaring Pussy Riot’s February 21 action to be merely an artistic reenactment of Jesus clearing out the temple.

According to this television report (which does include footage of Pavlenksy’s performance), the artist was quickly apprehended and immediately sent to a psychiatric hospital. After his release, he gave this interview, in which he explains that he sees the trial as about more than the highjinks of three young girls. He also cites his previous encounters with censors, such as one recent exhibition where his photographs of male nudes (including a few in which the groin area was visible) risked crossing the Petersburg’s line against “homosexual propaganda.”

While artists and activists have inflicted such harm on their bodies before, Pavlensky’s message may have been even more potent a gesture, in that it specifically addressed the Russian church using a Biblical reference. (A slightly more substantial point than an army of aging pop stars, blindly proclaiming freedom for musicians whose “work” they have most likely never heard.)

Still, all those pop stars certainly have got the world’s attention. The court recognizes the potential backlash of this show trial and has called for unprecedented transparency, live broadcasting the proceedings. Some, like writer Masha Gessen, see this as a sign of hope, the first cracks in Putin’s rule.

While everyone rushes to weigh in, we suggest that those who are interested in the proceedings follow the Pussy Riot blog or Twitter account, which links the myriad articles pouring in. (If there is anything truly unique or noteworthy, we may also translate or repost it here.)

Meanwhile, for those of you who would appreciate a refresher course, you can find footage of the “criminal” action below:

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5 Responses to The Trial of Pussy Riot, coming to a Twitter feed near you

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