On The Road Film Festival Preview 2017
Detour Cinema, Via Urbana 107 Roma
October 1 Sunday 2017 h5.30pm / v.o. english, korean / sub italian
In collaboration with Wanted Cinema distribuzione
The first rock band ever to play in North Korea
by Ugis Olte e Morten Traavik
(Norway/Latvia 2016, english&corean o.v., sott. italian)
Under the loving but firm guidance of an old fan turned director and cultural diplomat, and to the surprise of a whole world, the ex-Yugoslavian cult band Laibach becomes the first rock group ever to perform in the fortress state of North Korea. Confronting strict ideology and cultural differences, the band struggles to get their songs through the needle’s eye of censorship before they can be unleashed on an audience never before exposed to alternative rock’n’roll. Meanwhile, propaganda loudspeakers are being set up at the border between the two Koreas and a countdown to war is announced. The hills are alive…with the sound of music.
Laibach was originally a member group of the interdisciplinary artistic collective Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK). They were part of a community which took collectivism seriously and which operated within a broader alternative cultural scene of civil society movements in Slovenia (then Yugoslavia), engaged in the critique of the established socialist order and working towards the overall democratization of the society. Laibach was among the three founding members of NSK – together with the theatre group Scipion Nasice Sisters Theatre (1983-1987) and the visual arts group IRWIN (1983). Later in 1984 the three groups founded the NSK design department New Collectivism, followed by other subdivisions, including the theoretical Department of Pure and Applied Philosophy lead by philosopher Peter Mlakar. Mlakar’s speeches as prologues to Laibach concerts, highly politically charged and specific to the locations were equally provocative. The very fact of being forced to listen to his complex discourse was itself already a provocation for the regular ‘rock’ audience. Laibach was formed on 1 June 1980 in the small industrial town of Trbovlje. As starting points for their work, Laibach cited the models of industrial production and totalitarianism, collectivism and member anonymity, focusing on identification with ideology (or over-identification – a term coined by Slavoj Žižek). Laibach’s industrial aesthetics has served to emphasize the group’s origins, referring to the working-class and revolutionary traditions of Trbovlje. Laibach returned to the industrial era and used its almost archaic iconography to deconstruct the post-industrial nature of both socialism and capitalism, as well as that of the contemporary cultural industry. According to the practice of contemporary industrial music bands, in their early works they used sounds and images as tools to provoke fear and fascination. With Laibach, industry appeared as a specter from a nightmarish, archetypal past, rather than the promise of a gleaming technocratic future.
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