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10 October, 2013 21:40   ▪  

The Economist: Signs of aesthetic rebellion appear in the Ukrainian culture

When it comes to culture venues, Ukraine is garish, but the signs of new “alternative” culture like Gogol’fest festival start to appear, The Economist reports

“With a business climate that leaves little room for bohemians to open a café or theatre on a shoestring, neon signs and plasma screens dominate. Even the hippest places can seem like ersatz takes on Western European "alternative" style,” The Economist reports.

However, everything is not that bad. “There are signs of an aesthetic rebellion. "Rozy / Donbass", a song from the Dakh Daughters (pictured), went viral on YouTube over the summer, and has apparently been embraced as an anthem of a young and emerging counter-culture… Ukraine's intrepid hipsters already boast an annual arts festival. In a spirit of ramshackle chaos, Gogol’fest held its sixth edition last month at Vydubychi, a disused industrial complex in the south of Kiev,” The Economist says.

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Many of the highlights,such as performances by the Dakh Daughters, were offshoots from the Dakh theatre and contemporary arts centre, whose director, Vladislav Troitsky, organises the festival. "This is not supposed to be a political event, yet in the end it is political," says Mr Troitsky in a commentary to the Economist. He claims that politicians from both the government and opposition parties have approached him with offers to help organise future editions. "They have realised there is a force here," he adds, though he is quick to assert that there are no plans to compromise the festival's independence.

“The cultural institutes of a half dozen member states of the European Union sent participants from their countries to both perform and collaborate in the festival. Pierre Roti, a French street artist who spent two weeks painting a huge mural on the side of Vidubychi's main building, was enchanted. He saw Gogol’fest as the shop-front "of a whole new creative generation here," he said. It is certainly the face of a very different Ukraine,” The Economist admits.

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