Laibach is a music and cross-media group from Slovenia established on the 1st of June, 1980 in Trbovlje (1). The name of the band is the historic German version of the name Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana. From the start Laibach has developed a “Gesamtkunstwerk” – multi-disciplinary art practice in all fields ranging from popular culture to art (collages, photo-copies, posters, graphics, paintings, videos, installations, concerts and performances). Since their beginnings the group was associated and surrounded with controversy, provoking strong reactions from political authorities of former Yugoslavia and in particular in the Socialist Republic of Slovenia. Their militaristic self-stylisation, propagandist manifestos and totalitarian statements have raised many debates on their actual artistic and political positioning. Many important theorists, among them Boris Groys and Slavoj Žižek, have discussed the Laibach phenomenon both from an analytical as well as critical cultural point of view. The main elements of Laibach’s varied practices are: strong references to avant-garde art history, nazi-kunst and socialist realism for their production of visual art, de-individualisation in their public performances as an anonymous quartet dressed in uniforms, conceptual proclamations, and forceful sonic stage performances – mainly labelled as industrial (pop) music. Laibach is practicing collective work, dismantling individual authorship and establishing the principle of hyper-identification. In 1983 they have invented and defined the historic term ‘retro-avant-garde’. They creatively questioned artistic ‘quotation’, appropriation, re-contextualisation, copyright and copy-left. Although starting out as both an art and music collective, Laibach became internationally renowned foremost on the music scene, particularly with their unique cover-versions and interpretations of hits by Queen, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, etc.
In 1984 Laibach initiated the founding of the wider collective of NSK (Neue Slowenische Kunst) (2) together with the painters from the group Irwin and the theatre group Scipion Nasice Sisters. This led to the establishment of a strong platform for social, cultural and political activity within the climate of liberalisation and pluralisation in 1980’s Yugoslavia. NSK existed as a synchronised movement till 1992, later partly changing itself into a virtual NSK State in time. Limited collaboration between the groups continued till 1995 and beyond.
After the break-up of Yugoslavia in 1991(3), Laibach continued mostly within the realm of popular music, while remaining a point of reference in terms of artistic cultural criticism. During recent years the group underwent an international re-evaluation of their artistic practice in the course of an emergence of post-structuralist views on worldwide conceptual art production.
Laibach was formed in 1980 shortly after the death of Marshal Josip Broz Tito (4), the Yugoslavian post-war leader who had spent his political career establishing the principles of non-alignment within the 3rd, 2nd and 1st world and especially within communism. His death initiated a period of uncertainty in Yugoslavia, resulting in power struggles between conservative nationalist hard-liners and more liberal politicians; a period, which saw struggles and disagreements between the different republics constituting Yugoslavia. Laibach’s response to this confusion was to present their group as a totalitarian organization whose zeal for authority far outstripped that of the state. They announced their formation and activities through poster campaigns around the Slovene cities of Trbovlje and Ljubljana, utilizing elements of National Socialism and Socialist Realism propaganda imagery coupled with partisan folk art to create a startling effect. Confronted by these powerful images and the fact that Laibach is actually the German name for Ljubljana (5), Slovenes were forcefully reminded of their own wartime past under the Nazi and Italian occupation during World War Two. Hailing from the small city of Trbovlje (16.000 inhabitants), in a region known for its industrial landscapes, mines and political activism (6), Laibach members were determined to keep this tradition of agitation alive and wilfully baited the Yugoslavian government at every opportunity. This was evident in their first outing in September 1980 when they staged a show called “Rdeči revirji” (Red Districts – popular name for the Trbovlje region, where Slovenian communist party was created back in 1937). This event was scheduled to take place in their home city with the sole intention of challenging a number of contradictions that the group saw as being inherent for the town’s political structures at that time. Not surprisingly this provocative project was banned before it had even opened, on the grounds that it incorporated an inappropriate use of symbols, an accusation that was made constantly during Laibach’s early history. (7)
The state intervened on the second year of Laibach’s existence, too, when their compulsory military service prevented the group from staging any projects during 1981 except for a minor retrospective exhibition mounted in Belgrade’s Student Cultural Centre that featured painting, graphic works, articles and a presentation of Laibach’s music. Re-emerging in 1982, the group resumed their radical operations with an added zeal, staging their first concert in Ljubljana (8) and following it with shows elsewhere in Yugoslavia before returning for a confrontational headline appearance at Ljubljana’s Novi Rock festival in the centre of the city in September. Dressed in stark black and grey (mainly Yugoslav army) uniforms, Laibach performed ferocious noise assaults before a backdrop of totalitarian regalia and wartime slides with political speeches from Tito, Jaruzelski, Mussolini, and others spliced into the mix. Playing in front of aggressive hostile crowds was not without its risks as lead singer Tomaž Hostnik discovered after a bottle struck him during the show. Although bleeding from a facial wound he showed no reaction and the photograph of the wounded Hostnik is now one of the most iconic Laibach images. (9) Unfortunately, Hostnik never performed to more appreciative audiences as in December 1982 he took his own life.
Determined to continue the work that Hostnik had helped to begin, in June 1983, the group made their first television appearance in an interview on the current affairs programme TV Tednik (TV Weekly) (10). Wearing military fatigues and white armbands bearing a simple black cross, Laibach were interviewed in front of graphic images of large political rallies more than a little reminiscent of those in Nuremberg whilst reciting their “Documents of Oppression”. Their flirtation with such controversial imagery once again revealed uncomfortable similarities between Fascist and Socialist Realist iconography; similarities which instantly posed questions about the freedom of the media and the message. Their extremely provocative appearance on this program prompted the show’s host to brand them “enemies of the people”, appealing to respectable citizens everywhere to intervene and destroy this dangerous group.
In the same year Laibach announced their highly important manifesto, “The 10 Items of the Covenant”, first published in Nova revija(No. 13/14, 1983), a Slovene magazine for cultural and political issues. Here the group describes itself as a collective, practicing anonymity, with membership hidden under the four names: EBER, SALIGER, KELLER & DACHAUER. Members of the group still use these pseudonyms and avoid the use of their individual names. (11)
Government officials and politicians had also watched the group’s TV debut and in response to a wave of outrage they banned all planned public appearances in Slovenia and even the use of the name Laibach. Undeterred, Laibach spent November and December of 1983 on their first European tour, called “Occupied Europe Tour”, playing shows that eventually visited 16 cities in eight countries in Eastern and Western Europe. (12) During the intervening years Laibach played a cat-and-mouse game with the various authorities that seemed embarrassed and confused by this group explicitly calling on and provoking them to exercise their authority more harshly. However their desire to agitate regularly created problems for them as the group discovered when the Czechoslovakian authorities refused to allow them into their country. In Poland they were branded as communists and elsewhere in Europe were suspected of being fascists, but these controversies successfully sparked wider interest in their musical output. Despite the total ban on their performances in their native Yugoslavia, the group made a successful anonymous appearance at the Malči Belič Hall, Ljubljana, in December 1984 (13)(later released on the M.B. December 21, 1984 CD) before co-founding Neue Slowenische Kunst (New Slovenian Art), a guerrilla art collective and movement, created from the union of three groups, namely Laibach, Irwin – the visual artists collective – and the Scipion Nasice Theatre. Neue Slowenische Kunst had some reference to the historic Slovenian avant-garde movement from the 30’s (presented in pre-war Berlin as the Junge Slowenische Kunst) but it was mainly based on the original Laibach Kunst aesthetic, ideas and ideological principles and came about very much as a result of the fact that Laibach was then officially forbidden. (14)
This alliance was spurred on by radical politics and their desire to challenge the contradictions of the status quo in their homeland and beyond. This prompted the formation of a number of NSK sub-groups working in various media but always revolving around the main three. Through NSK, they began addressing the nationalist aspirations surfacing in Yugoslavia, most notably with the spectacular NSK theatre presentation Baptism Under Triglav (Laibach’s soundtrack is available in a lavishly illustrated set that was released by Sub Rosa/Walter Ulbricht Schallfolien). (15) Baptism is also the best illustration of the NSK retro-garde method, which is based on the belief that traumas from the past affect the present and the future can only be resolved by returning to the initial conflict. Neue Slowenische Kunst ceased to exist between 1992 and 1995, but the somewhat utopian project of the NSK State in Time, proclaimed in 1992, still continues till today, carried out by separate groups and diverse citizensof the state. (16)
April 1985 saw the release of the first Laibach album on the Slovenian Ropot (“Noise”) label. The ban on the use of their name meant that the record sleeve only carried an image of their now distinctive black cross symbol but it was to be the first of many albums they would release on a variety of labels around the world. This debut presented Laibach’s characteristic blend of Wagnerian horns, militaristic beats, atonal orchestral elements, samples of patriotic Tito speeches, and the severe tones of the group’s front man. (17)
Their songs were rich in sly irony but were delivered with the straightest of faces. The next LP “Rekapitulacija 1980-1984” (1985) released on Hamburg independent label Walter Ulbricht Schallfolien was the first Laibach album to gain an international release (18) with “Nova Akropola” (1986) following on UK independent label Cherry Red (19). The band then commenced their first UK tour, bemusing audiences by using antlers, flags, and a man chopping wood on their stage, but Mute Records soon recognized Laibach’s striking uniqueness and signed them, releasing “Opus Dei” in 1987. Once again this album showcased the band’s considerable wit and humour, which this time were directed towards the subversion of contemporary rock music by transforming it into anthemic industrial hymns. “Opus Dei” contains their grandiose covers of Queen’s “One Vision” and Euro sing-a-long hit “Live is Life,” presented in both German and English versions. (20) Still wilfully courting controversy, Laibach were not afraid of hijacking and subverting Nazi imagery either. Their videos were skilful parodies of Nazi propaganda films like Triumph of the Will but a reproduction of a swastika made of axes on the LP’s inner sleeve caused outrage in some more “politically correct” circles until the more astute pointed out that the symbol had actually been taken from the anti-Nazi art of John Heartfield. (21) They were sued by the militant Catholic organisation Opus Dei for the use of their name, but they successfully avoided court. The album is included in the authoritative collection “1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die” (2005, Cassell Illustrated, Quintet Publishing Limited). The group spent much of 1987 performing and spreading their messages, providing music for a performance by acclaimed British dancer Michael Clark (22) as well as creating music for a Deutsches Schauspielhaus production of Macbeth (23). Refused entry into the USA on the grounds that they might be radical Communists, Laibach performed instead their first legal Slovenian concert since their 1983 ban. The concert in Ljubljana’s Festival Hall was very successful and scenes from it can be seen in Goran Gajić’s 1987 film on Laibach, Victory under the Sun. (24)
The year 1988 saw a continuation of Laibach’s playful usage of rock mythology when they released twin EPs containing eight different cover versions of The Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil”. (25) Besides Laibach’s normal triumphalist style, the song was presented in uncanny disco, rock, and primitive dance music versions. They followed it with their wry parody of the Beatles final LP “Let It Be” (1988). Laibach made the whole record as a song for song cover of the original, (except the title track) transforming each song into melodramatic Wagnerian epics at odds with the banal lyrics. By re-moulding The Beatles’ least successful LP in their own image, they were essentially paralleling the disintegration of pop’s utopian dream with the accelerating disintegration of Tito’s dream of a unified multi-cultural Yugoslavia. They were also interrogating pop music’s cherished ideal of originality. Laibach’s cover versions challenged the meaning of copyright in the age of computerized reproduction, pop music for Laibach being typified by its history of repetition and copying. On “Let It Be”, “Maggie Mae” was entirely replaced by absurdly militant versions of two German folk songs, while “Across the Universe” featured an angelic female choir accompanied by a harpsichord. The overall affect was darkly comedic, although Laibach’s arrangements were often very beautiful, too. (26)
The year 1989 saw Laibach finally being allowed to tour the USA on a 16-date schedule. It was followed by a tour of Yugoslavia that even took them to Belgrade where they had not performed since Slobodan Milošević came to power in 1987. (27) The two concerts in Belgrade were extremely provocative. Before the Belgrade shows Laibach projected a World War Two German propaganda film on the bombing of Belgrade accompanied by extracts from agitational speeches by Milošević. Immediately before Laibach played, the group’s collaborator Peter Mlakar of the NSK Department of Pure and Applied Philosophy dramatically addressed the Serb audience, warning them of war and disaster to come. (28) During that period, Slovenia was openly moving towards becoming an independent democratic state and was antagonizing Serbia, which responded with an economic boycott of the Slovene republic. Laibach made the risky decision to play two concerts in this centre of Serbian nationalism amid strong (and ironic) suspicions that the Slovenian authorities had sponsored them, a rumour that persisted due to Laibach’s militant expression of Slovene identity, symbols and imagery including the architect Jože Plečnik’s unbuilt design for a Slovene parliament. (29) The group then completed a wider European tour before returning to record a full studio version of their 1987 soundtrack with Hamburg’s Deutsches Schauspielhaus production of Macbeth (1989). (30)
In December 1990 Laibach staged a concert at the thermoelectric power station in Trbovlje, their first appearance in their hometown since their initial banned project from 1980. (31) The fact that the concert marked their tenth anniversary was significant in itself, but equally momentously it came in the light of the massive “yes” vote in the referendum on Slovene independence. Laibach made a typically ambivalent statement by using the title “10 Years of Laibach – 10 Years of Slovene Independence.” The show was opened by the local brass band, playing military marches. The event was held in a big, old, unheated industrial hall, at minus 15 Celsius and the group played the whole show bare-chested. Audience was served with hot tea and local spirits. The sound was so loud that pieces of ceiling were falling down. Sixteen years later British music magazine Wire proclaimed this show as one of the “60 most powerful concerts of all times”.
As Slovenia emerged as an independent state, Laibach turned their analytical gaze to new topics, the first being the New World Order and the former Eastern Bloc’s move into the free market economy, weighty subjects examined with sly irony and a more techno-oriented sound on 1992’s “Kapital”, one of their most experimental and complex releases. The album sampled snippets of financial news reports, political speeches, science fiction films and poignant snatches of traditional Eastern European music to create a fascinating snapshot of the zeitgeist at the start of a new period in Europe’s history. (32) This period of Laibach’s work is captured in Daniel Landin’s 1993 documentary Laibach: A Film from Slovenia (also known as Bravo), released on DVD by Mute in 2004.
To remind everyone how Laibach had developed, Mute released “Ljubljana-Zagreb-Beograd” (1993). This fascinating historical compilation covers Laibach’s politically charged activities from 1982 including their first concert, first sessions and the notorious Novi Rock performance which was originally broadcast on Slovenia’s national radio during the time of the show, creating lots of controversy. Some of the tracks here feature Laibach’s original lead singer and spokesman the late Tomaž Hostnik, as well as their early totalitarian industrial noise sound. (33)
Taking their cue from the change and upheaval that was occurring as part of the European reunification process, Laibach (together with other NSK groups) became the founding fathers of NSK State. The world’s newest state formally announced its existence with NSK Embassy events held in Moscow (1992) and Berlin (1993). The state issued passports, stamps, and currency, and created its own flag. Laibach and their collaborators announced that the NSK is not a physical state adhering to traditional ideas of geographical borders, but rather an extra-territorial state, which peacefully co-exists within and without the host body of any pre-existing state where it chooses to temporarily materialize itself. The NSK State symbolically replaced the Neue Slowenische Kunst organization and at some events passports were required for entry although temporary visas issued by NSK staff also allowed access into this new territory. (34) The reunification of Europe was accompanied with conflict and NATO’s unwillingness to halt the aggression in Bosnia and the nationalist disputes in ex-Yugoslavia as well as the ex-Soviet Union provided the inspiration for Laibach’s next LP, “NATO” (1994). (35) The album seemed aware of the paradoxes inherent in Europe’s coalition army now having to side with its former enemies and its message was largely an anti-military one delivered through a series of hilarious cover versions. This time playfully subversive martial music was generated from sources as wide reaching as Holst, the Serbian nationalist military song (“March on the Drina River”), and cover versions including Edwin Starr’s “War”, Status Quo’s “In the Army Now”, and perhaps most spectacularly, Europe’s “The Final Countdown”. With war raging throughout the former Yugoslavia the album appeared to be a very timely statement. Laibach supported the “NATO” LP with their lengthy “Occupied Europe NATO Tour 1994-95” which ended with two concerts in besieged, war-torn Sarajevo as part of their “NSK State Sarajevo” event. The tour was documented in “Occupied Europe NATO Tour 1994-95” CD/Video and DVD sets. (36)
October 1995 saw the premiere of Michael Benson’s film on Laibach and NSK, Predictions of Fire. Filmed over several years it showed many of the major Laibach events of the first half of the nineties, exploring the ideas in their work in relation to the history of Yugoslavia and Europe. (37)
One of the most significant concerts of Laibach’s career came in 1997, when the group performed at the opening event of the European Month of Culture in Ljubljana. Laibach appeared before the presidents of several states as well as invited diplomats and dignitaries, presenting a monumental concert even by their standards. The Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra and a choir performed Laibach’s early heavy industrial music, orchestrated into a massive philharmonic sound that inevitably, given the group’s history, produced controversial reactions, including a walkout by the Archbishop of Ljubljana. (38)
In 1997 Mute released another live recording from Laibach’s politically charged past. “M.B. DECEMBER 21, 1984” captured more of Laibach’s early brutal industrial noise in recordings from Ljubljana, Zagreb and their appearance at the 1985 Berlin Atonal Festival. (39) This was followed in the autumn by the single “Jesus Christ Superstar/God is God” and the album “Jesus Christ Superstars”. The bombastic heavy metal style of the album confused many existing fans but also won over many new converts and the album would tour extensively over the next few years. (40)
Following a European tour in the autumn Laibach toured in Europe and the USA but concluded the year with a major nine-concert tour of Ukraine, Russia, and Siberia, travelling as far as Novosibirsk and Barnaul on the Mongolian border. The last concert of 1997 took place in Belgrade, where Laibach made an emotional appearance in front of 3500 people, the first appearance since their 1989 concert. With another memorable speech by Peter Mlakar the group dramatically warned Serbs once again about their future, but unfortunately with little political effect. Milošević and Serbia soon after started their war on Kosovo and NATO finally bombed the city and the whole country in March 1999. (41)
The seven-year period that followed saw Laibach concentrating on side projects, occasionally taking part in recordings that were part of the Slovenian electronic scene that the group had helped to establish, and re-issuing archive material, including the “Neu Konservatiw” CD which documented a notorious live performance from Hamburg in 1985. (42)
The band returned in 2003 with “WAT”, a typically superb Laibach offering launched with suitable bombast. Sung in both German and English, WAT pondered the major topics of the Iraqi War, anti-Semitism, terrorism and the crisis in the modern world. Their single “Tanz mit Laibach” was a minor hit propelled by a suitably tongue in cheek video and was the group’s homage to the electro-pop duo Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft (DAF). Laibach also claimed that the album was influenced by The Pop Group. WAT intensified Laibach’s analysis of the traumatic relationships between music and power, art and ideology, life and death. (43) Following the release of WAT, Laibach carried out a major European tour in 2003. The Slovenian language book on Laibach Pluralni monolit (Plural Monolith) by British cultural theorist Alexei Monroe was released simultaneously with WAT and became a best-seller in Slovenia. (44) In 2004 the band released a collection of their best songs under the title “Laibach Anthems”. (45) This was followed by their first American tour since 1997, which coincided with the 2004 presidential elections. This tour was documented in Sašo Podgoršek’s film Divided States of America, released by MUTE in 2006. (46 & 47) October 2005 saw the publication of Interrogation Machine (MIT Press), the English version of Alexei Monroe’s Pluralni monolit. The book was the result of several years of research on Laibach and NSK and analysed Laibach as part of the history of its time. (48)
In 2006 Laibach announced a brand new album release, “Volk” (49). The follow-up to 2003 WAT, the album was released on Mute on 23rd October and was preceded by a single release, “Anglia” on 9th October 2006. “Volk”, the German word meaning “people” (i.e. people as a nation), is a collection of interpretations of national anthems and includes the national anthem for the NSK State, which Laibach co-founded in 1992. In relation to pop music, which is for the sheep, Laibach present themselves as shepherds disguised as wolves. This grand project saw Laibach utilizing new sonic avenues previously uncharted by the band, but with a result that is Laibach to the core. Each of the tracks is based on and inspired by an original anthem. The tracks are mostly sung in English but also include sections in the relevant languages and guest vocalists. By reinterpreting the music and translating the lyrics of each anthem, the band has not only shown us this common ground, they have also offered up a very pertinent comment on today’s political situation and a warning for future generations. An extensive tour followed with more than 100 live dates throughout Europe and America. Their Volk performance in Trbovlje is documented on the Mute DVD “Dead in Trbovlje” (directed by Sašo Podgoršek). (50)
A new surprise came with the 2008 release of a Laibachian interpretation of Johann Sebastian Bach’s famous work “The Art of Fugue” (“Die Kunst der Fuge”), titled LAIBACHKUNSTDERFUGE BWV 1080. (51) The majority of the material had already been created in 2006 for the premiere performance on the 1st of June the same year at the Bach festival in Leipzig. Since Bach did not specify any instrumentation for this work and because he based it on mathematical algorithms, Laibach decided to use computers and software as the key instruments, creating a very special electronic interpretation and suggesting that J.S. Bach could also be understood as a pioneer of electronic, techno, and computer music. A European tour followed in 2008-2009 including a performance in the beautiful and historic surroundings of the Slovenian Philharmonic Society building in October 2008. (52) At the end of October, Laibach entered the world of online commerce in a typically ironic way, launching their long awaited and conceptually provocative web shop Laibach WTC (wtc.laibach.org). (53)
On 18th April 2009 Laibach, in collaboration with the RTV Slovenia Symphonic orchestra and composer Izidor Leitinger presented another spectacular event, this time called VOLKSWAGNER. Based on Richard Wagner’s music, the collaborating artists decided to create a sonic suite in three acts which takes Wagner into the core of the jazz music of sonic experimentalists such as Miles Davis and Sun Ra, further enhancing the music with ambient electronic and industrial sounds, making connections between Wagner, modernism, and jazz, crossbred with pop art. Two performances took place in Cankarjev dom, Ljubljana’s leading cultural centre, and, as is so often the case with Laibach, provoked some very strong reactions, especially among classical music critics and hardcore Wagner and Laibach fans. (54)
On 18 September 2009 the Kino Šiška, a new centre of urban culture was inaugurated in Ljubljana with a concert by Laibach and their British guests Juno Reactor. (55) During the next two years Laibach continued to tour extensively throughout Europe, but also presents several big retrospective Laibach Kunst exhibitions.
In 2009 a retrospective exhibition Ausstellung Laibach Kunst – Recapitulation 2009 was shown at the important Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, confronting historic and recent material. (56)
The International Centre of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana set up the exhibition GESAMTKUNST LAIBACH, Fundamentals 1980–1990, opened from 15 April to 6 June 2010 and presented the group’s visual artworks (posters, album covers, fanzines, linocuts, photo-copies, paintings and installations) as well as the controversial TV interview from 1983 and other documentary material. (57)
30 years after the Laibach’s first (and than banned) exhibition, the group set up the multi-day event with concerts, symposium and exhibition, at the same location, Laibach’s home town Trbovlje (in Delavski Dom Trbovlje), titled Ausstellung Laibach Kunst: RED DISTRICT + BLACK CROSS. (58)
In 2011 Laibach collaborated in a co-production project with the East West Theatre Company Sarajevo, Slovenian National Theatre in Maribor and European Cultural Capital 2012 Maribor, titled “Europe Today”, based on the text of Miroslav Krleža, directed by Haris Pašović and co-performed by Miki Manojlović and Edward Clug. (59)
On May 2011 Laibach performed a special concert at London’s historic Roundhouse as part of the annual Short Circuit Electronic Music Festival, hosted by Mute. (60)
Ausstellung Laibach Kunst – Perspectives exhibition was opened in Umetnostna Galerija Maribor (UGM) in February 24th, 2011. The exhibition comprised twelve rooms presenting key stages of Laibach’s work from the first decade of their career in the 1980’s up to the present. The works on display include multi-media installations, oil paintings, photographs, graphic works, and film. This was the biggest Laibach Kunst exhibition in Slovenia to date. (61)
Ausstellung Laibach Kunst 1980 -2011 – ‘Ceci n’est pas Malevich!’ exhibition was opened on May 6, 2011, at HDLU (Dom hrvatskih likovnih umjetnika/Croatian Artists’ Centre)
in Zagreb, Croatia. (62) After 28 years group Laibach returned with their visual work to Zagreb, at which, because of political pressures, their 1983 exhibition was interrupted and closed after only three days of viewing. The exhibition occupied the entire space, with three gallery rooms in the HDLU building. Laibach’s solo concert show in relation with the exhibition happened on May 21st in the Boogaloo venue (ex. RANS Mosa Pijade venue, where the band held their famous incriminated Music Biennale show in 1983). (63)
On 12 May 2011, Laibach played a special “installation performance” of Die Kunst der Fuge at MACBA – Barcelona’s celebrated Museum of Contemporary Art. The event took place alongside the opening of a large retrospective exhibition of Eastern European arts entitled Museum of Parallel Narratives (1956-1986). (64)
On August 18th, 2011 the group played a show in the historic Roman Arena in Pula, Croatia. The performance was a part of a summer festival; Laibach performed together with Guano Apes and Apocalyptica. (65)
In September a long awaited deluxe 5 vinyl LP Box, titled “Gesamtkunstwerk – Dokument 81-86“, was released at VOD (Vinyl On Demand).This ultra-deluxe leather-bound box set came in a cross-like holder for the five vinyl discs and also includes a DVD with two outstanding live-performances from 1982 and 1984 plus a large poster,10 postcards, a metal enamel-badge as well as an extensive 36-page booklet illustrated with archive photos of Laibach’s hometown Trbovlje. The Box focusses on Laibach’s early years as a provocative performance-music-and-multimedia-group and includes early studio and unreleased recordings in combination with many legendary live-documents from the 1981-1986 period; all previously unreleased on vinyl. (66)
In October Laibach started to create music/film score for one of the most anticipated films coming out of Europe: Iron Sky, a dark science fiction comedy about Nazis escaping to the dark side of the Moon in 1945 and returning to Earth in 2018. The film was inspired in part by Laibach and especially their 2006 album VOLK (Mute/EMI), therefore the film’s director Timo Vuorensola also wanted to have Laibach create the music for it. The Film will be launched on April 4th 2012 and Laibach will present it on selected shows in Europe. Iron Sky soundtrack will be released on Mute. (67)
Laibach lives and works in Ljubljana, Slovenia.