Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK): Organigramme, 1986

The NSK Organigramme, 1986

devised by: Neue Slowenische Kunst

layout: Novi kolektivizem


NSK’s interrogative rematerialization of ideology in the field of the visual assumes spectacular form in the 1986 “organigramme” (NSK organizational diagram). In 1987, Laibach described it as follows: “The NSK organigramme (organizational diagram showing principles of organization and activities), which has been made public several times on several occasions, clearly shows the hierarchical structure of the Body. In the head of NSK we cooperate on equal footing with Irwin and Cosmokinetic Theatre Rdeči pilot in a tripartite council led by the ICS (the immanent, consistent spirit). The collective leadership is rotational, the members are interchangeable. The inner structure of the Body functions according to the principle of command and symbolizes the relationship between ideology and an individual. Inside the Body there is equality. It is absolute and indisputable, and

is never questioned by the Body. The head is the head, the hand is the hand, and the differences between them are not painful.” The organigramme reflects trends toward self-institutionalization within the Ljubljana alternative scene of the period. Artists, curators, punks, and others were all dissatisfied with the “official” cultural institutions, but rejected the clandestine status of extra-institutional dissidents. The Slovene alternative was based

on institutions and self-definition, both within and outside existing structures. This process of institutional proliferation represented an extrapolation of the implications of the self-management system, using its formal emphasis on selforganization as a source of legitimacy to create a contra-systemic dynamic. Both the new institutions and NSK manipulated the system and its ideology to defend relatively autonomous activities. Institutions such as ŠKUC were at the far autonomous end of the spectrum of state organizations, but the creation of NSK as a wholly autonomous cultural alliance represented the culmination of trends

toward self-institutionalization. The organigramme took the process of alternative institutionalization to its (il) logical formal extreme, recapitulating and attempting to transcend the institutional anarchy of the period and the fantastically complex, deliberately opaque web of state and parastate organizations within the late Yugoslavian system. In 1990, the British authors of the last full edition of the Rough Guide to Yugoslavia observed.

“Diagrams of NSK’s organizational structure bear a striking resemblance to those in Yugoslavian school textbooks which seek to explain the country’s bafflingly complex system of political representation.” The organigramme appears to symbolize the traumatic return of an inhuman, mass-organized totalitarian state. However, its significance did not end with the

collapse of the Yugoslavian system, or the fall of Communism. Like many other NSK works, it looked forward as well as (because of) backward. Its menacing quality refers not just to the states of the past but to the political state of the present, to a period marked by the dominance of the corporate ideologies decoded by Naomi Klein. Branding experts’ talk of the “souls” or “consciousness” of corporations betrays the continued manipulation of the mystifying and potentially hypnotic effects generated even by the most faceless and technocratic organizations. These effects are as characteristic of organized religion as of totalitarianism or capitalism. Just as Deleuze and Guattari argue that, consciously or otherwise, Kafka’s work sensed the “diabolical powers of the future” (among which they listed American capitalism as well as Nazism and Stalinism). NSK, too, may have detected the

corporate future as much as exposed the present, recapitulating the stimulation of audience responses to produce “brand loyalty.”