STOLI, YOU STOLE MY HEART
TIAGO ALEXANDRE
OPENING 22 NOVEMBRO 2013 22H00

DIG DIG – Exposições Underground de Lisboa

DIG DIG is not and institution, a commercial space, an organization or a platform. It is first and foremost a low angle view, an independent perspective, a subterranean idea that is now reaching the surface.

DIG DIG is a space for thought, questioning and critic, necessary at a time where more and more ideas are buried due to the uncertainty brought by a society visibly affected by the shadow of the crisis, by the precariousness and lack of conditions to structure, create perspectives and dig up will.

In the midst of the darkness, it is crucial to find the light at the end of the tunnel. To do so, we need to dig: DIG DIG aims to reflect upon the past, present and future of culture through projects that will be excavated, opened and discovered by the public in one night only presentations.

Curated by Patrícia Trindade and produced by João Chaves (Balaclava Noir), DIG DIG opens its door for the first time with “Stoli, you stole my heart” de Tiago Alexandre. A project that was born out of the difficulty of dealing with inertia and that, all of a sudden, sees itself intercrossed by burning social and political issues.

“Since de dawn of the 20th Century, I have witnessed the great moments of humanity, I have bound men together in oaths of allegiance and honoured their triumphs. I have toasted old friends and celebrated new love. I have crossed the world and journeyed to the stars.” These are the words used to present Stolichnaya vodka to the consumers. A trendy contemporary yet secular brand that firmly believes in tolerance and diversity. An original brand drank by original people.

After the global movement in favour of the three imprisoned Pussy Riot members charged in August 2012, the Russian government chocks the world once again by prohibiting “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations”, legalizing xenophobia and homophobia. Consequently, a movement to boycott all Russian vodka began and it this is how the so-called Stoli stopped being sold in gay bars across the USA. At this point, the brand decided to begin an aggressive anti-Russia campaign, changing their label from “Russian Vodka” to “Premium Vodka”, sponsoring gay events throughout the US and creating a space on their website entirely dedicated to this issue, where amongst many questions, we can read “IS STOLICHNAYA A RUSSIAN VODKA? (…) DOES THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT HAVE A FINANCIAL STAKE IN STOLICHNAYA? (…) WHY DID YOU CHANGE YOUR STOLI LABEL FROM “RUSSIAN VODKA” TO “PREMIUM VODKA”? WHAT BROUGHT ABOUT THIS CHANGE? (…) WHAT IS STOLICHNAYA’S POSITION ON THE ACTIONS TAKEN BY THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT? (…)”
(see stoliforequality.com)

There are, however, many who question this whole marketing intervention. Why is the website written in English only? Is it for Americans only? Why is it that in interviews given before August 2013, the spokesperson for the brand clearly defines Stoli as being Russian, and now the brand is defined it as Russian/ Latvian made mostly in Latvia? These and other questions will be raised in the presentation of Tiago Alexandre’s “Stoli, you stole my heart” on November 22nd (at 10pm) at DIG DIG’s Lisbon underground exhibitions.

You dig?

Patrícia Trindade