Pussy Riot, a balaclava-clad anonymous punk rock art collective inspired in part by the Riot grrrl movement of the 1990s, has captivated artists, media and the public as has no other Russian human rights case in recent memory.
Artists from Yoko Ono to Bjork have rallied to their side after members of the group were charged with “hooliganism” and later sentenced to two years in a correctional labor colony for their guerrilla art performance in the Temple of Christ the Savior in Moscow. This judgment - for a 45-second unplugged performance mostly consisting of chanting and dancing in front of the church’s altar - has reignited international concerns about freedom of expression and state censorship.
But what else does this case tell us about the possible future for DIY feminist organizing and activism? How do emerging open technologies enable or inhibit musical activist movements and international solidarity? What are the biggest challenges to free expression in the US and abroad?
It may take some time to figure out what Pussy Riot means in the world’s cultural context, but they have reminded us that artists’ greatest allies and advocates may be each other.
Amy Klein - musician, writer, and activist
Blue S. Moon - musician, Noon:30
Molly Neuman - VP, Label Relations, eMusic
Mark Yoffe - Curator, International Counterculture Archive, Global Resources Center, GWU Libraries
Lindsay Zoladz - freelance writer, Pitchfork contributing editor (moderator)
This panel was recorded live at the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C. on November 13, 2012 during Future of Music Summit 2012.
Event website: futureofmusic.org/events/future-music-summit-2012
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