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Laibach and the NSK: Ludic paradigms of postcommunism

[journal article]

Bell, Simon Paul

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Abstract A Slovene collective emerging in the wake of Tito's death and shaped by the break-up of Yugoslavia, the NSK (Neue Slowenische Kunst) are a performance art movement founded in 1984 in Ljubljana, northern Slovenia. Together with their most influential delivery system the group Laibach they examine Vaclav Havel's Post-Totalitarian Age, and operate as nexus between East and West in the context of postcommunism. This article interrogates how with the employ of relatively unique and willfully provocative strategies of Retrogardism, re-mythologisation, and Over-identification, Laibach interrogate contexts of the unfinished narrative of Communism, the aestheticized-political of totalitarianism, and the legacy of Yugoslavian Self-management Socialism. Retrogardism has been re-contextualised by cultural theorist Marina Gržinić as the new ”ism” from the East, and Slavoj Žižek champions Laibach’s acts of disruptive Over-identification. Other diverse subjects such as ideological discourse, Suprematism, "Balkanisation" and the wider notion of European identity, in particular Western chauvinism, are all fertile ground for Laibach's controversial provocation and are subject to analysis. The ludic presence of Laibach and the NSK reveals the mechanisms of these discursive fields, whilst simultaneously appearing to reaffirm such, often to an alarming and disconcerting degree.
Keywords Slovenia; totalitarianism; post-communist society; art; narrative; identification; european identity
Classification Cultural Sociology, Sociology of Art, Sociology of Literature
Document language English
Publication Year 2011
Page/Pages p. 609-619
Journal Studia Politica : Romanian Political Science Review, 11 (2011) 4
ISSN 1582-4551
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works