Some of us celebrate the new year by popping champagne, planting a kiss or setting off a party popper. Voina, a radical Russian art group, rang in 2012 by setting a police car on fire. Happy New Year!
The group broke into a police station in St. Petersburg on New Years Eve and used Molotov cocktails to set fire to a police car. Or rather, what they refer to as a 'trash truck' or 'prison on wheels.' The action was a New Years gift to the political prisoners of Russia.
Voina was founded by a philosophy student in 2005 and has since had its leaders arrested for a medley of charges for art performances including flipping over police cars and constructing a 210-ft penis on a St. Petersburg drawbridge. Banksy bailed out two of the leaders last spring. In a statement, Voina's president, known as Bucket Man, expressed the motives behind the piece.
"Who the fuck needs art when there are trash vampires, trash trucks and werewolves in uniform about? This fire engulfing the trash must be an Eternal Fire... Let's destroy all prisons! Freedom to all political prisoners! Feds don't fuck us - we fuck feds! Happy New Year, comrades!
Voina clarified that the destructive performance was not "art," it was "beyond art." Reviews of this beyond artwork are mixed. While predictably law enforcement officials were not pleased with the work, even liberal intellectual Andrei V. Yerofeyev was skeptical of the group's activist move, claiming "The goal of art is deeper than activism," he said. "They have carried out their assignment."
Footage below shows the performance in all its chaotic destructive glory. What do you think, is it art?