“The Shutters Will Close on October 31” (Manifesta 10)

Two absolutely (in)compatible claims from the topsy turvy world of Manifesta 10:

1. Manifesta 10 is the most law-abiding art biennial ever held and ingratiating to a fault with the “conservative part of society” (i.e., drooling fascists).

Local Petersburg TV “culture correspondent” Pavel Nikiforov (in a report viewable here):

Despite all the fears, despite the cautious attitude of the museum сommunity and the conservative part of society, all three programs, all the exhibits in these programs are fully consistent with the laws of the Russian Federation. Moreover, at the opening of the Biennale [State Hermitage director Mikhail] Piotrovsky paid special attention to this point.

Mikhail Piotrovsky (in the same TV report):

We had a legal consultation with our lawyers. And nothing presented at Manifesta violates the laws of the Russian Federation.

(The segment in question starts at the 2:40 mark.)

2. Manifesta 10 is an oasis of total, uncensored political freedom endorsed by the entire Russian LGBT movement.

After her, Hedwig Fijen, who came directly from St Petersburg where she was responsible for Manifesta for which she has been a director for since quite some time. Like we all know, Manifesta has been bombarded with an enormous amount of critique for being situated where it is this year, in Russia, in St. Petersburg and in the Eremitage [sic] . She mentioned how none of the artistic projects had been in any way been object of political pressure and that there had been internal discussions all along the process about staying or leaving Russia and the decision to stay was not taking lightly nor naïvely. She mentioned that the LGBT-movement in Russia had wanted them to stay to avoid further isolation and to keep an open channel, and that in the end, with all the talk about boycott, only three artists decided to withdraw from participating in the biennial. Kaspar [sic] König was in the audience, but never said anything.

source

(Thanks to Comrade CLA for the second part.)

___________

P.S. The last lines of that TV report are priceless (and cheaply prophetic):

Like Petersburg once upon a time, Manifesta is a window, only now it works both ways. The shutters will close on October 31.

the-triumph-of-the-russian-fleet

Slaves of Moscow

On October 30, 2012, a group of civil society activists in Moscow freed twelve slaves from the Produkty grocery store, owned by a Kazakhstani couple, Zhansulu Istanbekova and her husband, Saken Muzdybayev. Nearly all of those released were women from the city of Shymkent in Kazakhstan, which is also Istanbekova’s hometown. Istanbekova had at various times invited them to Moscow to work in her store. Once there, they had been robbed of their passports and forced to work without pay for twenty hours a day. They were fed a slop made from rotten vegetables, and they were beaten and raped. Some of the freed women had arrived at the store recently, but others had worked as slaves there for as long as ten years. Many of them had given birth while in captivity. Istanbekova had disposed of these children at her discretion. She shipped some of them to Kazakhstan, later declaring them dead, while others had served her family from an early age.

This is the introduction to “Slaves of Moscow,” a graphic reportage by artist Victoria Lomasko now published in English translation in a new issue of Words without Borders on migrant labor. Read the rest of this hair-raising story here.

skazali