FACE is one of Russia’s most controversial rappers. With his humorous and often provocative lyrics, the 21-year-old (born Ivan Dryomin) has earned the ire of the country’s conservative establishment by ridiculing its long-held sense of patriotism. Government officials have threatened to shut down his concerts and state-owned television channels have broadcast features critical of his work; all the while his audience of switched-on post-Soviet youth just keeps growing bigger.
For our Dazed Texts series – which has previously seen Mykki Blanco perform “I Want a Dyke for President”, Munroe Bergdorf perform “Still I Rise”, and Troye Sivan perform “Mystery of Love” – FACE reads a passage from Nineteen Eighty-Four. With its setting of omnipresent government surveillance, George Orwell’s novel was a perfect fit for the rapper, who recently told us about the threats to speech that are currently being faced in Russia. “Policemen should protect the people,” he said. “Here, when you see them, you get fucking scared. There’s no freedom of speech, too. Even when people want to say something, they get scared and keep silent.”
“Even to understand the word ‘doublethink’ involved the use of doublethink.”
Watch the video above.
FACE reads from Nineteen Eighty-Four:
Performed by FACE
Directed and produced by Ira Lupu
Sound and edit by Ganna Brizhata
Technical assistant Evgeniy Karev
Creative producer Bec Evans
Executive producer Thomas Gorton