Alexei Monroe, Interrogation Machine : Laibach and NSK

Alexei Monroe

book – The MIT Press – ISBN 0262633159
Laibach and the Neue Slowenische Kunst have represented in eighties and nineties a brilliant and controversial project, a visible jump in the future with no shield, with the effigies from the past raised as monuments only after a substantial conceptual manipulation. ‘Precursors’ is one of the most used terms to define the Slovenian group, but it describes only partially the complex system of strategies used to express a social crisis in history, territory and especially memory. In the ex Yugoslavia territories, and especially in Slovenia where the group originated, memory didn’t had the time to lie dormant, because of the fastest changes the entire region experienced. The vague transition from the socialist icons to the tearing (external) civil war to the new relationships with the ‘Europe’, then no more ‘separated’, can be read in the ambiguous performances of the group. History fluctuates among icons, objects and sounds, and the territory liquifies in the negation of belonging and in the relationships that defines it from time to time. In this scenario the eternal ambivalence has been one of their stronger points, wrongfooting the expectations and continuously provoking doubts and questions. With a critic vision they break up the propaganda, using it as the favorite communication medium, and this is the reason why they are. citing a NSK definition, “engineers of human soul”.