Notes from Underground: Rock Music Counterculture in Russia

By Thomas Cushman | Go to book overview

7

Conclusion: Capitalism,
Cultural Freedom,
and Democracy
in Post-Soviet Russia

Only when the past ceases to trouble and anticipations of the future are not perturbing is a being united with his environment and therefore fully alive.

-- John Dewey, Art as Experience

There is neither freedom nor discipline in the abstract, but only in the concrete forms that depend on the cultural context.

-- Karl Mannheim
Freedom, Power, and Democratic Planning


Capitalism and the Aporias of the Rock Community

In the summer of 1992, on St. Petersburg's
major thoroughfare, Nevskii Prospekt, in
Ploshchad' Vosstaniya (The Square of the
Uprising) a new electronic billboard of the sort found in New York City's
Times Square was installed. Its simple message declared: "Biznes -- Eto Iskusstvo," or "Business Is Art." In terms of describing the situation of
artists in Petersburg, the billboard might have proclaimed the opposite:
"Iskusstvo -- Eto Biznes," or "Art Is Business." The central reality of artis
tic life in St. Petersburg after the dissolution of the Soviet Union is that art

-309-

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