AS/Andere Sinema (Belgium) editorial

(editorial by Tom Paulus in the Spring 1996 issue of AS/Andere Sinema, Belgium)

What do you do when everything seems normal? When history has nested itself in a comfortable present, carrying within itself virtually the future and the past? As if everything has always been like that, and not different? A strategic collective like Neue Slowenishe Kunst digs into the past and shovels it at the future. With their actions, performances and slogans, Irwin and Laibach sabotage the perfectly oiled wheels of the independent state, doubt the common sense of central authority, and build castles in the air with the fundaments of a historical, ethnic, and political singularity. NSK practices retroactivism — it activates the past as a clinical picture of the future. NSK works progressively and retroactively, as a symptom which simultaneously refers back to the very first germs of the disease and points forward to its later contamination and spread. NSK proves that just showing and displaying images from a heavily loaded past can be far more efficient than the current power structure, with their rather trouble-free neutralisation of accomplished facts and data, would suspect. In the end these saboteurs do nothing more than encourage, stimulate, and activate. Sometimes the eternal just does the work for them. It loses control over what today in fact can be seen as nothing more than a footnote. With us the trial of Erma Laplasse was a particularily visible example of a wound which spontaneously started bleeding again. Like every guerilla front, NSK blows itself up during or after its most ambitious action, the crown of its life-work. With the foundation of an independent NSK state within the Slovenian republic — a distorted but a life-like mirror of the real thing — the collective had achieved its task. So during the media war around ex-Yugoslavia, NSK seemed suddenly out of the picture. With his film Predictions of Fire, Michael Benson re-activates the virus with retroactive force, arriving to disturb the deceitful silence again. Curious what the final diagnosis will be.

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