News

Novosibirsk theatre defends artistic freedom following accusations of “offending religious feeling”

The Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet theatre has defended its right to artistic freedom, after the city’s prosecutor’s office accused its recent production of Wagner’s Tannhauser of breaking the law on offending religious feeling. The production, staged in December last year, was slammed by Novosibirsk’s bishop, who accused the performance of desecrating religious symbols.

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New St Petersburg bureau of Ekho Moskvy to be created, Venediktov announces

Alexei Venediktov

A new St Petersburg bureau for independent radio station Ekho Moskvy is to be created, the station's editor-in-chief, Alexei Venedikov, announced yesterday. On Twitter, Venediktov confirmed that Ekho Moskvy’s CEO Mikhail Demin had approved the decision, and that the new office will be headed by Ekho Moskvy journalist Olga Bychkova.

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Darkside’s Nicolas Jaar composes alternate soundtrack to experimental 1969 Armenian film

Electronic musician and one half of experimental music duo Darkside, Nicolas Jaar, has composed an alternate soundtrack to The Colour of Pomegranates, an experimental 1969 Soviet film directed by Sergei Parajanov. The film is a coming-of-age story that follows the life of an Armenian ashik, or bard, Sayat-Nova, whose discovery of love, sex, religion and death is captured in a series of avant-garde, static tableaux.

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Romanian and Polish designs shortlisted for EU Prize of Contemporary Architecture 2015

  • Romanian and Polish designs shortlisted for EU Prize of Contemporary Architecture 2015

    Philharmonic Hall Szczecin. Image © Simon Menges

  • Romanian and Polish designs shortlisted for EU Prize of Contemporary Architecture 2015

    Philharmonic Hall Szczecin. Image © Simon Menges

  • Romanian and Polish designs shortlisted for EU Prize of Contemporary Architecture 2015

    Museum Of The History Of Polish Jews. Image © Pawel Paniczko

  • Romanian and Polish designs shortlisted for EU Prize of Contemporary Architecture 2015

    ‘Urban Spaces’ Dogarilor Apartment Building. Image © Cosmin Dragomir

Buildings from Romania and Poland are among the 40 projects shortlisted for the EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture 2015. An apartment building in Bucharest along with three public cultural institutions (two museums and a concert hall) in Poland, were chosen from 420 original nominees. The Urban Spaces Dogarilor Apartment Building in Bucharest and Poland’s Silesian Museum, the Philharmonic Hall in Szczecin and the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, are competing in the residential and cultural categories respectively. 

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Soon-to-launch iPhone software features Russian-speaking Siri

Russian-speaking iPhone users can soon enjoy a multi-lingual version of Siri, Apple’s voice-activated personal assistant. Launching next month, Apple’s newest iOS 8.3 software will support Siri in Russian, Thai, Swedish, Turkish, Danish, Portuguese and Dutch, tech website 9to5mac reports. 

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Polish concert hall nominated for Designs of the Year Awards

  • Polish concert hall nominated for Designs of the Year Awards

    Photograph: Simon Menges

  • Polish concert hall nominated for Designs of the Year Awards

    Photograph: Simon Menges

  • Polish concert hall nominated for Designs of the Year Awards

    Photograph: Simon Menges

  • Polish concert hall nominated for Designs of the Year Awards

    Photograph: Simon Menges

  • Polish concert hall nominated for Designs of the Year Awards

    Photograph: Simon Menges

A new philharmonic hall in Poland’s north-western coastal city of Szczecin has been shortlisted for the Designs of the Year awards, an annual prize organised by London’s Design Museum. The building, designed by Spanish studio Barozzi Veiga, features a translucent ribbed-glass facade and a spiky roof, and was erected on the site of the Konzerthaus, a concert hall destroyed during the Second World War. At night, lights shining from inside give the building a white glow. 

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Ukrainian fashion designer Anton Belinskiy shortlisted for LVMH Prize

Clothes by Thomas Tait, winner of the 2014 LVMH prize

Ukrainian fashion designer Anton Belinskiy is among the 26 designers shortlisted for the annual LVMH Prize, an award that gives one successful young designer €300,000 and the opportunity to spend a year working under the mentorship of LVMH industry professionals. 

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St Petersburg’s Anna Nova gallery launches young artists competition

Ilya Seletskiy, Present Indefinite (2014). Seletskiy won the competition last year

A competition inviting young artists to engage with questions over the function of contemporary art has been launched by St Petersburg art gallery Anna Nova. The competition, now in its fifth year, asks young artists to answer one of two questions: 1/ What role does contemporary art play in the modern world? or 2/ How can artists use information from other fields of knowledge, and what can they borrow and give in return? Centred around this year’s theme “Art and Education”, the competition acknowledges the increasing social function of art, and the growing importance of “non-material" production, ideas and concepts. 

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Pussy Riot release first English-language song, inspired by Eric Garner

Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina launched their first song in English today, with a haunting music video to accompany what they describe as an “industrial ballad”. The song’s title, "I Can’t Breathe", is dedicated to Eric Garner, the American whose last words were “I can’t breathe”  before dying at the hands of a New York police officer who put him in a chokehold.

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Under Electric Clouds wins Berlinale award: an interview with director Alexei German Jr

Under Electric Clouds (2015)

Russian film Under Electric Clouds won the award for cinematography and art direction at the Berlinale film festival yesterday. It is the sixth film by director Alexei German Jr, the son of eminent filmmaker Alexei German Sr, who emerged during the perestroika period of the 1980s and became a defining figure of late Soviet and new Russian cinema. German Jr's eight-part film, which centres around an unfinished skyscraper, features an eccentric collection of protagonists, including the skyscraper’s architect, a poor intellectual and a Kyrgyz drifter. Together they explore a motif familiar to German Jr film buffs: the tension between freedom and its absence which lies at the centre of life among Russia’s intelligentsia.

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