During the Russian president’s state visit to Germany, members of the Ukranian performance group Femen chanted “F*** Putin.” As usual in their practice, they were topless and with painted signs on their torsos “F*** the Dictator” in English and “Putin, Go F** Yourself,” in Russian. Putin and German Chancellor Merkel were there, witnessing the chants, signs, and breasts. Here there is a video and photographs (text in German):
This would be one of their most successful actions to date, comparable to their other protests in solidarity with the Pussy Riot, a Russian feminist punk group, two members of which are now in Russian jails. In their use of Russian, English and other languages and strategies that are on top of being topless, Femen is developing its own style. But a more exciting question for me here is the relation between theory and practice, whatever one might call these. The work by Hito Steyerl, “Adorno’s Grey,” explores his last semester of teaching in California, when a group of women students flashed him during his lecture, and showered him with flower petals. Adorno, a well-known theorist of art, culture, and politics, who had to flee Nazi Germany to the US, returned that semester to Switzerland (and died shortly thereafter), after many of his lectures were disrupted by ‘unruly’ students whom he clearly could not connect with. (Nabokov left for Switzerland around the same time, citing students protests as one reason also.) You can read about Steyeri’s video installation here:
I would just say that it’s great to have this Femen group of women doing it, even if (or, because of?) the fact that they were allowed in to do their action.