As expected, the war unleashed in recent days between Russia and Ukraine triggered a series of other conflicts linked to the world of entertainment and culture that could be considered as the collateral damage of the war. Directors fired for not expressing themselves against it, highly regarded writers co-signing a statement, Russian curators and artists at the Venice Biennale who resigned from their duties, and even Netflix taking sides in what many call a “meaningless war” as if someone had it.
On one side or the other
In the last few hours, the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra fired its director of Russian nationality, Valery Guérguiev, for his friendship with President Vladimir Putin and for having ignored the intimidation of the mayor of that German city, Dieter Reiter, to expressly express his rejection of the war in Ukraine.
This was confirmed by the official himself, who emphasized the lack of responses to his requests to “clearly and unequivocally distance himself from the brutal war of aggression that Putin is waging against Ukraine.”
Reiter had given the conductor Friday night until Monday night to issue a statement on the matter.
“A clear signal for the orchestra, its audience, public opinion and city politics would have been essential to be able to continue working together,” said the mayor.
At the head of the Philharmonic since 2015, Guérguiev has accumulated criticism in recent years for his public closeness to the Russian president, made evident when in 2014 he joined a petition that supported the annexation of Crimea by Russia.
In addition to the demands of the mayor of Munich, the artist had received requests from the Scala in Milan and the Elbe Philharmonic in Hamburg, among other institutions, to distance himself from Putin.
PEN International publishes an open letter in solidarity with #ukrainesigned by 1000+ writers including Burhan Sonmez, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Orhan Pamuk, Svetlana Alexievich, Maria Ressa, Olga Tokarczuk, Elif Shafak, Colm Toibin: https://t.co/tLTIS1T8oI pic.twitter.com/2tlTtWhL53
— PEN International (@pen_int) February 28, 2022
At the same time, more than a thousand writers, including the British Salman Rushdie, the Canadian Margaret Atwood and the Nobel Prize winners for Literature Orhan Pamuk and Svetlana Alexievich signed a letter expressing their solidarity with Ukraine and calling for an end to what they defined as “a senseless war”.
The authors claimed to be “dismayed by the violence unleashed by Russian forces in Ukraine” and launched an “urgent call to stop the bloodshed”, according to an open letter published by the world association of writers PEN International.
“We are united in condemning a senseless war, caused by the refusal of President (Russian Vladimir) Putin to accept the right of the Ukrainian people to discuss their future direction and history, without the interference of Moscow,” the letter states, published in English, Russian and Ukrainian.
In the message, the signatories noted that they are united “to support writers, journalists, artists and the entire Ukrainian people, who are living through dark hours.”
Parallel to the statement by PEN America, which is part of the centenary international organization that is a pioneer in defending freedom of expression and the human rights of writers, other figures of world culture such as the French philosopher Edgar Morin and the novelist and former correspondent Spanish war fighter Arturo Pérez-Reverte expressed their rejection of the military operation undertaken by Russia against Ukraine through social networks.
no place for art
The curator and the artists selected for the Russian pavilion at the Venice Art Biennale gave up their participation due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in a decision that the organizers of the great fair that opens on April 23 considered as an “act of bravery”.
On Sunday, artists Alexandra Sukhareva and Kirill Savchenkov, along with curator Raimundas Malaauskas, announced in a joint Instagram post their withdrawal from the Russian pavilion due to the conflict in Ukraine.
“When civilians die under missile fire, Ukrainian citizens hide in shelters, and Russian protesters are suffocated, there is no place for art,” the three wrote in their respective accounts.
The authorities of the fair made the artists’ decision official in a statement and, in this way and for the first time in the history of the Biennale, that space within the exhibition will remain closed: “The Venice Biennale has been informed of the decision of the curator and the artists of the pavilion of the Russian Federation to resign their positions, thus canceling the participation of that country in the 59th edition of the Biennale of Art”.
“We express our total solidarity for this noble act of bravery and with the motivations that have led to this decision, which dramatically personifies the tragedy that affects the entire population of Ukraine,” the Biennale considered when analyzing the artists’ attitude in a statement. .
The message also makes it clear that the Biennial is committed to being “a place where peoples meet in art and culture, and condemns all those who use violence to prevent dialogue and peace.”
The decision of the Russian artists is just one more chapter of the impact of the war on the organization of the event. Last week, artist Pavlo Makov and curators Lizaveta German, Maira Lanko and Borys Filonenko from the Ukrainian pavilion informed the organizers that they could not continue working on the project due to the Russian invasion.
The artist Vadim Zakharov is a prominent avant-garde Russian art historian and a founding member of the collective of “unofficial” artists who worked during the Soviet era. Winner of two of Russia’s most important art prizes, the Innovation and the Kandinsky, he previously exhibited in Venice in 2002, at the Arsenal.
For her part, Alexandra Sukhareva was born in 1983 and lives and works in Moscow and Dubna, although her work is exhibited in the main Western cities. Her work is focused on the importance of processes and the influence between matter and cognitive phenomena.
netflix say no
The streaming giant also took sides. Netflix reported that it will refuse to broadcast Russian state and news channels on its platform, which since March would be incorporated by law in that country into streaming services, in the context of boycott and international sanctions after the invasion of Ukraine.
A company spokesperson indicated that “given the current situation, Netflix has no plans to incorporate these channels into its service.”
In December, the Russian telecommunications regulator placed Netflix in the category of audiovisual services company, which implies that the streaming platform must transmit channels with more than 100,000 daily viewers, including the main air signals. , such as the state-owned Channel 1, and news stations such as Spas, run by the Russian Orthodox Church.
As of the validity of the new Russian regulation of the last hours, Netflix will be required to host on its platform the twenty main channels in the country, many of which handle a propagandistic editorial line in favor of Vladimir Putin.
In any case, Netflix’s strategy is not clear as to how to proceed, since its challenge to local regulations will impact its service in Russia, where it has plans to produce the first original series in that country based on the classic novel by Tolstoy,
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The world of entertainment and culture receives the splinters of the war conflict and takes a stand