Resilient Cities
S2 E1: Moscow - Expression in the Face of Suppression

Moscow: Expression in the Face of Suppression

Moscow is a city where dissidents live in fear. After emerging from a decade of post-­Soviet economic and political turmoil, the country, under Putin’s rule, is a place where authorities have tightened control over the media and stifled the opposition. The government maintains a narrative that insists on the country’s unique power in contrast with the rest of Europe. In 2011, thousands of protestors gathered in Moscow to protest electoral fraud – it was the biggest show of protest since the fall of the USSR. Yet Russia’s environment of suppression infuses the underground art scene with a strong desire to challenge, subvert and disrupt the status quo.

In this episode, we follow one Canadian photographer and four Moscow artists: Pussy Riot founder and member Masha Alekhina, an actionist – activist whose work is a reaction to the prevailing status quo, a duo of quiet protestors/poets undertaking a “silent revolution,” and a performance artist who takes his colourful, imaginative pieces to the streets. All are rebellious, using the prevailing tension to create art that extends beyond the government’s heavy hand of repression. Some have even put their freedom at stake to tell their stories.

Available until
2018-09-29T00:00:00-07:00

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Chicago: Artists Fighting Segregation

Chicago is a city that ranks as one of the richest and most productive in the United States, yet it has a deeply segregated urban landscape and a high murder rate. In its south and west sides, impoverished housing blocks sit beside affluent homes, universities and city stadiums. The year 2016 was the city’s most violent in over two decades with a record of 762 homicides, an increase of 58 percent since 2015.

Karachi: Creating Art Amid Terror

Target killings, terrorist attacks and a skyrocketing crime rate: these are the words usually used to describe Pakistan’s megalopolis Karachi. And up until recently it was considered a lawless land, taken over by gangsters and terrorist groups like the Taliban who assassinated intellectuals and artists.

One of the most significant target killings was the assassination of Sabeen Mahmuud, a feminist and intellectual who founded T2F, one of the few spaces dedicated to creation in Karachi. The case of her assassination remains unsolved.

Warsaw: Art Fighting Ultranationalism

Since the democratic election of the Law and Justice Party in 2015, Poland is divided between liberals and ultra-­conservatives. The country is moving away from the orbit of Western Europe and returning to a past defined by family, church and home.

In some instances, it is also moving towards a future that echoes elements of its dark history. Antisemitism on the rise and a wave of ultranationalism is sweeping the country.

Beirut: Art As A New Narrative

Beirut is a battle-­scarred city that has survived military invasions and civil war. Currently it struggles with a Muslim and Christian divide, the influx of hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees and has Isis looming over their country’s northern border. Still, Beirut is considered the cultural hub of the Middle East. Reverberating with the sounds of musicians, performers and activists as well as hosting one of the best nightlife scenes in the world, Beirut is an enigma. 

Kiev: Art As Protest

In a city on the divide between Russia and Europe, the art of protest stands against war and corruption. Kiev has a government that ignores its citizens and responds to demonstrators with violent measures. Now, artists and activists are spearheading the fight to claim Ukrainian cultural identity.