Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Protester Nails Scrotum To Red Square Cobbles

A Russian performance artist has been arrested after stripping naked and nailing his scrotum to a cobblestone in Red Square in protest at what he called the country's descent into a "police state".
Pyotr Pavlensky, 29, said the stunt was a metaphor for "apathy, political indifference and fatalism in modern Russian society".
Timed to coincide with Police Day, a national holiday celebrating Russia's law enforcement officials, Mr Pavlensky walked on to the square on Sunday afternoon, took off his clothes and took up his excruciating position outside Lenin's Mausoleum, one of the capital's most famous tourist spots.
Apparently undaunted by the autumnal Russian weather, the protest lasted for around an hour before Mr Pavlensky was removed from the ground by police.
Officers confronting the artist were initially clearly unsure how to proceed before covering him with a blanket and sending him to hospital in an ambulance.
He was given basic treatment, but refused to be admitted and accompanied officers to a police station to be arrested instead.
Explaining the stunt, which he has described as an art installation called "Fixation", Mr Pavlensky said: "It's not the bureaucrats' lawlessness that is stopping the society from action -  it is fixation on its own defeat and loss that is nailing us harder to the Kremlin cobblestones.
"Thus creating a human army of apathetical statues, patiently awaiting their fate.
"Right now, when those in power are turning our country into one big prison, openly stealing from the population and redirecting financial flows into the enrichment and expansion of police apparatus and other security services." 
"The society allows this lawlessness forgetting that their number is bigger and that their inaction is drawing the dawning of a police state nearer."
Russian art collective Gruppa Voina, which has close ties with feminist punk band Pussy Riot , applauded the action.
The group tweeted: "The artist Pavlensky is the Vienna action art of the 1960s (an avant gardist art movement in the 60s) with blood and pain, but taking in mind Russian society in the beginning of the Millennium."
Prominent Moscow-based theatre director Kirill Serebrennikov wrote on his Facebook page that the performance was a "powerful gesture of absolute despair".
Mr Pavlensky has a history of public performances involving nudity and pain.
Previous artistic efforts have included sewing his lips together in protest at the imprisonment of members of Pussy Riot, and wrapping his naked body in barbed wire outside the Saint Petersburg parliament in May. He faces up to 15 days in prison for his latest work.

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