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In the Air – Art+Auction's Gossip Column

No Money, No Phones, and No Rules: How to Live Like a Voina Activist

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Last time we checked in with Voina, the rabble-rousing Russian anarchist performance art collective, one of its members had just staged yet another daring escape from prison. Though all of its members are now on the lam, Voina found some time to check in with German newspaper Der Spiegel, which published a gripping profile of the group’s co-founder Oleg Voronikov. See below for some gems from the piece, and click here to read the entire story.

1. Though Voina has been selected to co-curate the Berlin Biennial, the position is merely symbolic. Vorotnikov won’t be able to attend the event, which starts April 27, because he could get arrested there. “Besides, I won’t leave Russia until Putin is gone,” he adds.

2. Being a member of Voina means being thrifty: Vorotnikov and his wife say that not only do they manage to get by without a permanent home and without identification papers, but that they have also survived without money for 13 years.

3. In order to stay under the radar of Russian police, Voina members do not use mobile phones, and instead communicate via Gmail and Skype, channels that Russia’s domestic intelligence agency can hardly monitor. Voina activists sit in front of their computers in restaurants and bars for hours without ordering anything.

4. A Voina activist is never off-duty. As Vorotnikov leaves a Chinese restaurant where he met the Speigel reporter, he steps up to the owner, bows down in front of him, and shouts, “Free Tibet! Free Ai Weiwei!”

[Der Spiegel]

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