SummaryThis paper reflects a study in how the Slovenian Performance Art collective the NSK (Neue Slowenische Kunst), and more specifically its sub-group Laibach, functioned as a ‘Memory machine’ in re-enacting historical European trauma in an apparent re-staging of the totalitarian ritual. In this way, Laibach demonstrate history as a contemporary active political agency of Eastern and Central Europe.Shaped by the break-up of Yugoslavia, the NSK was a multi-disciplinary Gesamtkunstwerk primarily comprising three groups: IRWIN (visual arts), Noordung (theatre), and its most influential delivery system, Laibach (music). Championed by Slavoj Žižek, Laibach are Slovenia’s most famous cultural export, and are widely considered Europe’s most controversial music group. In 2017, Laibach caused further controversy for being the first ‘Western’ group to play North Korea.With the strategy of Retrogardism, an aesthetic system unique to Eastern European aesthetic praxis, Laibach and the NSK re-mythologised totalitarian iconography associated with Nazi Kunst and Socialist Realism, which contemporary capitalism can only relate to as offensive kitsch.
Art History & Criticism – de Gruyter
Published: Dec 1, 2020
Keywords: Laibach; Eastern Europe; Performance; NSK; totalitarian; Retrogardism