Laibach and Bosnia

Joe Barrera (
Fri, 24 Apr 1998 10:23:12 -0700

I am a great fan of Laibach. They really challenge the concept of political
correctness as a simple recipe for appeasing one's conscience. I recently
found a great article about them and their philosophy, which I'll quote the
first paragraph from (but I suggest you read more from following:
"Only God can subdue Laibach. People and things never can."
The release of Laibach's 'Occupied Europe NATO Tour' box set marks a time
for a valuable reassessment of the prophesies, predicaments, controversy and
enlightenment thrown up from their work so far. Though their questioning
attitudes have often incited bewilderment and misinterpretation during their
16 year existence, it has become clear that everything they have anticipated
has come to pass. Since 1980, Laibach's music and art - Laibachkunst - had
been rehearsing the break-up of Yugoslavia and the Soviet block. Following
the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 that signaled the final collapse of
communism in Europe, their work shifted focus to a world where utopian
dreams have been replaced by the cynical values of the market place. From
the beginning they have astutely observed the signs, incorporated them into
their work and exposed the hidden formula of potentially explosive
equations. Their early art and music was fraught with the underlying
tensions threatening to blow Yugoslavia apart.
Laibach's response to this confusion [after the call of the Berlin Wall, and
Tito's death ] was to present themselves as a totalitarian organism whose
zeal for authority far outstripped that of the state. They announced
themselves through poster campaigns around Trbovlje and Ljubljana, where
they would eventually settle, Their posters played off elements of National
Socialist and Social Realist propaganda, partisan folk art against each
other. Confronted by these powerful images, Slovenes were reminded of their
own wartime past under Nazi and Italian occupation, and the immediate
post-war era of more rigorous communist rule. Laibach's name itself
contained the germ of their future strategy: Being the German for Ljubljana,
it was fraught with uneasy associations.
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Oh, and speaking of appeasing one's conscience, one of my favorite quotes
from the X-Files:

"We appease their conscience. Anyone who can appease a man's conscience can
take his freedom away from him." - Smoking Man,

- Joe

Joseph S. Barrera III <>
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