They are in Barcelona now, and they are ‘wanted’!
Few art groups managed to push the limits of civic engagement, political sarcasm and radical criticism of the power symbols as Voina did in Russia. Referring to themselves as ‘art terrorists’, they have been actively staging one performance after another, ranging from symbolic hanging of foreign workers in public places (criticizing racism against immigrants) to walking into a supermarket dressed as priests and walking out with stolen goods in front of everyone (the invulnerability of the ‘men of God’).
The big one came in 2008 when they engaged in public sex at a state museum in Moscow (a performance known as ‘Fuck for the heir Puppy Bear’) the day before the presidential elections to ‘wish good luck to Medvedev’ in an act meant to mock the succession of power from Putin to Medvedev (Medved means Bear in Russian). There was also a projection on Medvedev’s plan for raising the childbirth rate!
Then came the public scandal in 2010 when they painted (as scratch graffiti) a huge phallus on a drawbridge next to the Federal Security Service in Saint Petersburg. From a distance, when the drawbridge is actually drawn, the phallus seems to be in erection close to the building. For this ‘street art’ (considered by others as vandalism), they were awarded the 2011 Innovation Award by the Russian Ministry of Culture, which angered many sectors of the society and provoked demonstrations and marches of protests by some conservatives.
The 2012 version of ‘the Influencers’ festival (for Unconventional Art, Guerrilla Communication abd Radical Entertainment) at the CCCB (Barcelona) features Voina, as well as Biotic Baking Brigade; Constant Dullaart; Evan Roth (F.A.T.); Jill Magid; JR (Inside Out Project) and Reverend Billy…all very interesting artists, performers and activists.