“Beautiful Trouble is essential reading for the socially engaged artist.”Ken Krafchek, Graduate Director, MFA in Community Arts, Maryland Institute College of Art
Voina (“war”) is a Russian performance art collective that uses guerrilla street theater as a vehicle for political protest. The group has projected a skull and crossbones onto the national government building, painted a 65-meter erect penis on a drawbridge facing the state security agency’s headquarters, overturned police cars, and thrown chickens at McDonald’s workers to “alleviate their boredom.” One performance, staged a few days before Dmitry Medvedev was elected president, consisted of six couples having sex in Moscow’s state biological museum under a banner that read “Fuck for the heir, Little Bear,” a play on Medvedev’s surname, which means “bear” in Russian. In 2010, the group’s co-founders, Oleg Vorotnikov and Leonid Nikolayev, were arrested for an anti-corruption performance that involved overturning seven police cars and were held for three months before being charged with a crime. At the time of this writing, they are charged with inciting hatred against a social group — the police — and face up to seven years in prison.