Neue Slowenische Kunst
Neue Slowenische Kunst aka NSK, is a controversial political
Politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. The term is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil governments, but also applies to institutions, fields, and special interest groups such as the...
art collective that announced itself in Slovenia
Slovenia , officially the Republic of Slovenia , is a country in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north, and also has a small portion of...
1984 in music
This is a list of notable events in music that took place in the year 1984.-Janury-March:*January 21 – "Relax" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood reaches number one in the UK singles chart, despite being banned by the BBC; it spends a total of forty-two weeks in the Top 40.*January 27 – Michael Jackson's...
, when Slovenia was part of Yugoslavia
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was the Yugoslav state that existed from the abolition of the Yugoslav monarchy until it was dissolved in 1992 amid the Yugoslav Wars. It was a socialist state and a federation made up of six socialist republics: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia,...
. NSK's name, being German, is compatible with a theme in NSK works: the complicated relationship Slovenes have had with Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....
. The name of NSK's music wing, Laibach
Laibach can refer to one of the following:* German name for Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia* Laibach , Slovenian industrial musical group** Laibach , the title of the debut album by the band with this name...
, is also the German name of the Slovene capital Ljubljana
Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia and its largest city. It is the centre of the City Municipality of Ljubljana. It is located in the centre of the country in the Ljubljana Basin, and is a mid-sized city of some 270,000 inhabitants...
, creating controversy
Controversy is a state of prolonged public dispute or debate, usually concerning a matter of opinion. The word was coined from the Latin controversia, as a composite of controversus – "turned in an opposite direction," from contra – "against" – and vertere – to turn, or versus , hence, "to turn...
through evoking memories of the Nazi occupation of Slovenia during the Second World War.
CompositionNSK's best-known member is the musical group Laibach
Laibach is a Slovenian avant-garde music group associated with industrial, martial, and neo-classical musical styles. Laibach formed June 1, 1980 in Trbovlje, Slovenia . Laibach represents the music wing of the Neue Slowenische Kunst art collective, of which it was a founding member in 1984...
. Other NSK member groups include IRWIN
IRWIN is a collective of Slovenian artists, primarily painters, and an original founding member of Neue Slowenische Kunst .- History :In 1983, the artists Dušan Mandič, Miran Mohar, Andrej Savski, Roman Uranjek, and Borut Vogelnik, coming from the punk and graffiti scene in Ljubljana, formed an...
(visual art), Noordung
Noordung are a Slovenian theatre group; founded in 1983 under the name of Scipion Nasice Sisters Theater they were, in 1984, a founding member of the Neue Slowenische Kunst collective...
(theater; originally named Scipion Našice Sisters Theater, also known as Red Pilot), New Collective Studio (graphics; also known as New Collectivism), Retrovision (film and video), and the Department of Pure and Applied Philosophy (theory). The founding groups of the NSK were Laibach, IRWIN, and Scipion Našice Sisters Theater.
CharacteristicsNSK art often draws on symbols drawn from totalitarian
Totalitarianism is a political system where the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible...
or extreme nationalist
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...
movements, often reappropriating totalitarian kitsch
Kitsch is a form of art that is considered an inferior, tasteless copy of an extant style of art or a worthless imitation of art of recognized value. The concept is associated with the deliberate use of elements that may be thought of as cultural icons while making cheap mass-produced objects that...
in a visual style reminiscent of Dada
Dada or Dadaism is a cultural movement that began in Zurich, Switzerland, during World War I and peaked from 1916 to 1922. The movement primarily involved visual arts, literature—poetry, art manifestoes, art theory—theatre, and graphic design, and concentrated its anti-war politics through a...
. NSK artists often juxtapose symbols from different (and often incompatible) political ideologies
An ideology is a set of ideas that constitutes one's goals, expectations, and actions. An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things , as in common sense and several philosophical tendencies , or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to...
. For example, a 1987 NSK-designed poster
A poster is any piece of printed paper designed to be attached to a wall or vertical surface. Typically posters include both textual and graphic elements, although a poster may be either wholly graphical or wholly text. Posters are designed to be both eye-catching and informative. Posters may be...
caused a scandal by winning a competition for the Yugoslavian Youth Day Celebration. The poster appropriated
Appropriation is a fundamental aspect in the history of the arts . Appropriation can be understood as "the use of borrowed elements in the creation of a new work."...
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...
artist Richard Klein
Richard Klein (artist)
Richard Klein was a German artist, known mainly for his work as a favoured artist of the Nazi regime. Klein was director of the Munich School of Applied Arts and was one of Hitler's favourite painters....
, replacing the flag of Nazi Germany with the Yugoslav flag
Flag of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
The flag of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia consisted of three equal horizontal bands colored in pan-Slavic colors, blue , white and red, with a yellow-bordered red star at the flag's center...
and the German eagle with a dove
Pigeons and doves constitute the bird family Columbidae within the order Columbiformes, which include some 300 species of near passerines. In general terms "dove" and "pigeon" are used somewhat interchangeably...
Both IRWIN and Laibach are emphatic about their work being collective rather than individual. Laibach's original songs and arrangements are always credited to the group collectively; the individual artists are not named on their album cover
An album cover is the front of the packaging of a commercially released audio recording product, or album. The term can refer to either the printed cardboard covers typically used to package sets of 10" and 12" 78 rpm records, single and sets of 12" LPs, sets of 45 rpm records , or the front-facing...
s; at one point, there were even two separate Laibach groups touring at the same time, both with members of the original group. Similarly, the IRWIN artists never sign their work individually; instead, they are "signed" with a stamp
Rubber stamping, also called stamping, is a craft in which some type of ink made of dye or pigment is applied to an image or pattern that has been carved, molded, laser engraved or vulcanized, onto a sheet of rubber. The rubber is often mounted onto a more stable object such as a wood, brick or an...
or certificate indicating approval as a work from the IRWIN collective.
The NSK were the subject of a 1996 documentary film
Documentary films constitute a broad category of nonfictional motion pictures intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction or maintaining a historical record...
written and directed by Michael Benson, entitled Prerokbe Ognja in Slovenian
Slovene or Slovenian is a South Slavic language spoken by approximately 2.5 million speakers worldwide, the majority of whom live in Slovenia. It is the first language of about 1.85 million people and is one of the 23 official and working languages of the European Union...
, or Predictions of Fire
Predictions of Fire
Predictions of Fire or Prerokbe Ognja is a documentary film by American filmmaker Michael Benson about the Neue Slowenische Kunst.-Synopsis:...
in English. Among those interviewed in the film is Slovenian intellectual
An intellectual is a person who uses intelligence and critical or analytical reasoning in either a professional or a personal capacity.- Terminology and endeavours :"Intellectual" can denote four types of persons:...
Slavoj Žižek is a Slovenian philosopher, critical theorist working in the traditions of Hegelianism, Marxism and Lacanian psychoanalysis. He has made contributions to political theory, film theory, and theoretical psychoanalysis....
NSK StateSince 1991, NSK claims to constitute a state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...
, a claim similar to that of micronation
Micronations, sometimes also referred to as model countries and new country projects, are entities that claim to be independent nations or states but which are not recognized by world governments or major international organizations...
s. They issue passport
A passport is a document, issued by a national government, which certifies, for the purpose of international travel, the identity and nationality of its holder. The elements of identity are name, date of birth, sex, and place of birth....
s, have presented shows of their work in the guise of an embassy or even as a territory of their supposed state, and maintain consulates in several cities including Umag
Umag is a coastal city in Istria, Croatia.The city hosts the yearly Croatia Open ATP tennis tournament on clay courts.-Geography:It is the westernmost city of Croatia, and the municipality includes Savudrija which is westernmost point of Croatia....
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...
(since 1994). NSK have also issued postage stamps. Laibach, in 2006, recorded (some may say 'remixed') the NSK State National Anthem on the LP "Volk." The "anthem" adopts its melody from another Laibach song, "The Great Seal." Laibach's version of the NSK anthem includes a recitation of an excerpt from Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...
's famous "We shall fight them on the beaches/We shall never surrender" speech.
The NSK passports are an art project and as such are not valid for travel. However, many desperate people have fallen for a scam in which they are issued a NSK passport. Most of these scams originate in Nigeria and Egypt.
The first NSK citizens congress was held in Berlin 2010. It was followed by a "NSK Rendez-Vous" in Lyon, France, where Alexei Monroe revealed to The Captain Spaulding's Bizarre Freaky Circus Laibach and NSK 's aim : make people "aware that totalitarianism
isn’t a discrete historical phenomenon which went on from 1933 to 1989
and then it’s over so let’s have a nice triumph of liberal democracy". Another "NSK Rendez-Vous" took place in London on February 26, 2011.