Interrogation machine: Laibach and NSK
NSK is considered by many to be the last true avant-garde of the twentieth century and the most consistently challenging artistic force in Eastern Europe today. The acronym refers to Neue Slowenische Kunst, a Slovene collective that emerged in the wake of Tito's death and was shaped by the breakup of Yugoslavia. Its complex and disturbing work -- in fields including experimental music and theater, painting, philosophy, writing, performance, and design -- has an international following but a powerful and specific cultural context. Within the NSK organization are a number of divisions, the best-known of which is Laibach, an alternative music group known for its blending of popular culture with subversive politics, high art with underground provocation -- reflecting the political and cultural chaos of its time.In Interrogation Machine, Alexei Monroe offers the first critical appraisal of the entire NSK phenomenon, from its elaborate organizational structure and its internal logics to its controversial public actions. The result is a fascinating portrait not only of NSK but of the complex political and cultural context within which it operates. Monroe analyzes the paradoxes, perplexities, and traumas of NSK's work at its deepest levels. His investigation of the relationships between conceptual content, stylistic method, and ideological subtext demonstrates the relevance of NSK in general and Laibach in particular to current debates about culture, power, war, politics, globalization, the marketplace, and life itself. As Slavoj Zizek writes in his foreword, "Today, the lesson of Laibach is more pertinent than ever."Monroe uses a variety of theoretical and historical approaches, as is appropriate to the shifting and elusive nature of his subject. The use of theory reflects NSK's own theoretical engagement; it is also a valuable way to read the issues raised by the work. Neither oversimplifying nor uncritically mystifying, Monroe leaves intact the "gaps, contradictions, and shadows" inherent in his subject, demonstrating that "it should still be possible to appreciate the work as art that moves, confuses, agitates, or fascinates."
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
Slavoj Zizek: "Laibach itself does not function as an answer but as a question." My exposure to Laibach goes back to sitting in a bar in DC in the late Eighties (the fondly remembered old 930 Club) when what comes on the video monitors but these four guys portentiously striding down a hallway like crown princes from a Nazi Germany that never fell; my reaction, to put it mildly, was what the hell! Since then I've been an enthusiast of the band, and have long appreciated their satirical and critical stance, but had many questions about their origins and influences. You can argue that Monroe doesn't provide THAT many answers either, but he does give a good description of the environment the band and their cultural co-conspirators emerged from in the late Yugoslav Republic. Particular emphasis is placed on Laibach and the NSK as being an expression of Slovenian culture, and as social critics committed to exposing, and then making absurd, the shadowy forces cultivating hegemonic ambitions. If nothing else I now appreciate just how incendiary even their name was at the start of their career. As for the drawbacks of this monograph, it does read a great deal like the doctoral thesis it was developed from, while assuming a certain level of background in cultural theory and, to a lesser degree, Yugoslav history. This thus limits its accessibility. Still, considering Laibach's commitment to ambiguity, this is likely the best account available of the organization we're likely to see for awhile.
Review: Interrogation Machine: Laibach and NSK (Short Circuits)User Review - Goodreads
An excellent analysis, not only re: Laibach but perhaps more importantly regarding the "hidden fascist" lurking within all cultures, and individuals.
Bloody Ground Fertile Soil NSK Contexts
Was ist Kunst? Actually Existing Retrogardism
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