Back in the early 90s, Laibach stomped around in pseudo-facist uniforms, banged drums with fanatic zeal and blonde hair like the kid from The Tin Drum and generally made alot of people go, “They’re nazis!!! … hmmmm … but I kinda like their music”. Then everything turned to shit, and the sublime game of identity they played washed over Europe in a storm of genocide.
Laiback weren’t facist. And neither is Slavoj Zizek, the Ljubljana philosopher and writer of unparalleled smack-downs to the 20th century years of anal big-gun philosophy, Habermasian egomania and pervasive zealotry masquerading as humanism in gems like Everything you always wanted to know about Lacan but were afraid to ask Hitchcock. Along with Judith Butler who de-frumped and cleanly eviscerated the radical separatism infusing feminism and offered something new and fun in Gender Trouble, Zizek for a moment made me believe we could get beyond ourselves. A long time later, I stumbled on NSK, and Laiback and Zizek became one.
In the meantime, …
Dragan Zivadinov doesn’t have great hopes for his actors’ longevity; he’s confident that by 2045, the 16 performers in ‘One versus One’ will have all died and been replaced by robotic models, which will utter digital melodies in place of dialogue. First presented on April 20th, 1995, the performance will be repeated every ten years on the same day until 2045, by which point the cast should have transformed into mechanical ghosts. Zivadinov’s own death is scheduled for May 1st, 2045, when he will fly into the geostatic orbit and place the robots at 16 points around the earth, before realising his dream to become ’empty-bodied in the absolute nothing with my instinctive physicality’ (the fate of his collaborator, Dunja Zupancic, is not stated). This 50-year action is intended to finally abolish mimetic theatre and establish the rule of non-corporeal art. A founder of the Neue Slovenische Kunst (NSK: New Slovenian Art) experimental art movement, Zivadinov’s work comprises! a series of ‘farewell rituals’ exploring faith, death and the end of the world through performance art. This decade’s performance takes place on April 20th, 2005 in Moscow, where he has previously staged a performance in zero gravity.