Watch now: Moscow — Expression in the face of oppression
In the season premiere of Interrupt This Program political art "is the only way for artists to be free"
Moscow is a city where dissidents live in fear. After emerging from a decade of post-Soviet economic and political turmoil, the country, under Putin's rule, is a place where authorities have tightened control over the media and stifled the opposition.
Yet Russia's environment of suppression infuses the underground art scene with a strong desire to challenge, subvert and disrupt the status quo.
Modern Russian artists, we feel like we're aliens here.- Andrey Bartenev, experimentalist artist
In this episode, we follow one Canadian photographer and four Moscow artists: Pussy Riot founder and member Masha Alekhina, an activist whose work is a reaction to the prevailing status quo, a duo of quiet protestors/poets undertaking a "silent revolution," and a performance artist who takes his colourful imaginative pieces to the streets. All are rebellious, using the prevailing tension to create art that extends beyond the government's heavy hand of repression. Some have even put their freedom at stake to tell their stories.
Jail and prison is just an experience. If you are doing something for freedom, there is no jail, and bars mean just not nice decoration.- Masha Alekhina, Pussy Riot
Artists are much bigger than the government. Artists are about the future of the culture and I need to continue to sing my song.- Andrey Bartenev
I am really nervous. I don't want to be imprisoned, and in Russia you can be imprisoned for almost everything.- Sasha, poet
I'm an optimist and I try to build something positive, because if we forget how to be happy we can miss our future.- Andrey Bartenev
Art as political protest, as a means of survival, as an agent of change, as a display of courage and delight. Interrupt This Program explores art in cities under pressure. Watch Moscow — Expression in the face of oppression now.