Inke Arns:
Continued: Mobile States.../ (NSK)


The NSK State without territory
In his text "Es gibt keinen Staat in Europa" (1992) ["There is no state in Europe"] Slavoj Zizek laid out the theoretical foundations of the artistic concept of the "NSK State in Time", linking these to the concrete events in ex-Yugoslavia since 1991. Describing the relation to the state of both the left and the right, Zizek asserts that "[t]he utopian perspective, which henceforth opened up towards both the radical left-wing as well as the antiliberal right-wing, was the abolition of the State or its subordination to the community." (19)
According to Zizek, the war in ex-Yugoslavia can be understood as a result of the dissolution of state authority as well as the subordination of state structures to ethnic interests:
Today's experience, summed up in the word 'Bosnia', confronts us with the reality of this utopia. What we are witnessing in Bosnia is the direct consequence of the disintegration of State authority or its submission to the power play between ethnic communities - what is missing in Bosnia is a unified State authority elevated above ethnic disputes. (20)
Contrary to the utopian ideas of both the extreme left as well as the ultra right, it now becomes clear "that there is nothing liberating about the breaking of the state authority - on the contrary: we are consigned to corruption and the impervious conflict of local interests which are no longer restricted by a formal legal framework." (21) Following these ideas, Zizek formulates his philosophical-theoretical state concept, which at first glance seems paradoxical, confronting the reader with a complete reversal of previously valid concepts:
From all this it is thus necessary to draw what at first glance seems a paradoxical, yet crucial conclusion: today the concept of utopia has made an about-turn - utopian energy is no longer directed towards a stateless community, but towards a state without a nation, a state which would no longer be founded on an ethnic community and its territory, therefore simultaneously towards a state without territory, towards a purely artificial structure of principles and authority which will have severed the umbilical chords of ethnic origin, indigenousness and rootedness." (22)

Transposition: Zeppelin = Vehicle / Traject and Vector
In the 80s NSK could be described as static, bound to place, analyzing the flux of aesthetic-ideological signs through territories. In the 90s the artists' collective, through its transformation from an organisation into a state body, itself becomes an immaterial 'organism', fluctuating through real territories.
As such, the NSK State in Time becomes a trajective vehicle of a 'pure exterior', a core without interiority, a border without territory. The only form of existence of the NSK State are its embassies, ephemeral temporary materialisations serving to make visible symbolic differences.
The aim of the transposition of NSK, of movement, of travelling and the ensuing changes of location of the entire NSK organism can be seen in communication and exchange with this other (different) place.
"[...] an autonomous NSK territory can be defined; a territory capable of moving, not confined by geographical, national and cultural borders; a territory realizing its own notional space." (23)
* This text is based on the concept "Topos / Territorium: Mobile States - Shifting Borders - Moving Entities" (Inke Arns / Kathrin Becker, Berlin, March 1996) and on excerpts from "Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK) - an analysis of their artistic strategies in the context of Yugoslavia in the Eighties" by Inke Arns, M.A. thesis, East European Institute at the Free University of Berlin, December 1995.
A shorter German version was published in nettime / Geert Lovink / Pit Schultz (eds.), Netzkritik. Materialien zur Internet-Debatte, Berlin: Edition ID-Archiv, 1997, pp. 201-211
Notes: (1) Paul Virilio, Revolutionen der Geschwindigkeit [Revolutions of Velocity], Berlin 1993, p. 62 (2) Jean Baudrillard, "Kein Mitleid fr Sarajevo" (1993) ["No Compassion for Sarajevo"], in: Lettre international, Berlin, Winter 1995, p. 91
(3) see Rainer Ansn, "Die Ethnisierung Europas. Zur Philosophie der Neuen Rechten" ["Ethnicizing Europe: On the philosophy of the New Right"], in: Lettre international, Heft 24 / 1994, pp. 89 - 90; Boris Groys, "Sammeln, gesammelt werden. Die Rolle des Museums, wenn der Nationalstaat zusammenbricht" ["Collecting and being collected. The role of the museum when the national state collapses"], in: Lettre international, Heft 33 / 1996, pp. 32 - 36
(4) Fredric Jameson, "Postmoderne: Zur Logik der Kultur im Spaetkapitalismus", in: Andreas Huyssen / Klaus Scherpe (eds.), Postmoderne. Zeichen eines kulturellen Wandels, Reinbek bei Hamburg 1989, p. 99 f. (5) Timothy Druckrey, "The Fate of Reason in the Global Network: Teleology, Telegraphy, Telephony, Television, Telesthetics", in: ars electronica (ed.), Mythos Information: Welcome to the Wired World, Wien / New York 1995, p. 152
(6) see Boris Groys, "The Irwin Group: More Total Than Totalitarianism", in: Irwin, Kapital, exhibition catalogue, Ljubljana 1991
(7) Laibach, cit. in: Claudia Wahjudi, "Zwoelf Jahre musikalische Zitatenschlacht zwischen zwei kontraeren Systemen", Interview mit 'Laibach', in: Neues Deutschland, 13. 8. 1992
(8) see Alenka Barber-Kersovan, "'Laibach' und sein postmodernes 'Gesamtkunstwerk'", in: Helmut Roesing (ed.), Spektakel / Happening / Performance. Rockmusik als 'Gesamtkunstwerk', Mainz 1993, pp. 66 - 80 (9) see Slavoj Zizek, The Sublime Object of Ideology, London / New York 1989; Slavoj Zizek, Liebe Dein Symptom wie Dich selbst! Jacques Lacans Psychoanalyse und die Medien, Berlin, 1991; Slavoj Zizek, "Das Unbehagen in der Liberal-Demokratie", in: Heaven Sent No. 5 / 1992, p. 44 - 50; Peter Sloterdijk, Kritik der zynischen Vernunft [Critique of Cynical Reason], 2 vols., Frankfurt a. M. 1983
(10) Katja Dieffenbach, "Slowenien und die 90er: Kunststaat", in: Spex, No. 10, Oct. 1994, p. 52
(11) H. Davenport, "Partisan Performances", in: The Observer, July 19, 1987
(12) Alenka Barber-Kersovan, ibid., p. 75
(13) Eda Cufer & Irwin, "Concepts and Relations"(1992), in: Irwin, Zemljopis Vremena / Geography of Time, exhibition catalogue, Umag 1994
(14) Eda Cufer & Irwin, "NSK State in Time"(1993), in: Irwin, Zemljopis Vremena / Geography of Time, ibid. . Note: NSK makes a distinction between its 'citizens' and its 'members'. 'Citizens' in practice are anyone who can scrape together the money for a passport, while 'members' are specially fifteen people. (M. Benson)
(15) 'Irwin', in: "Transcentrala (Neue Slowenische Kunst Drzava v casu)", video by Marina Grzinic & Aina Smid, 20.05 min, Ljubljana 1993
(16) Ibid.
(17) As an addition to the embassies and consulates, the NSK Drzava v casu issues passports, which are understood as a "confirmation of temporal space" (NSK) and which can be obtained by any person irrespective of citizenship or nationality.
(18) Neue Slowenische Kunst, NSK Embassy Moscow. How the East sees the East (Irwin in Collaboration with Apt-Art International and Ridzina Gallery, Moscow May 10 - June 10, 1992), Obalne Galerije Piran / Loza Gallery Koper (eds.), Koper [1992]
(19) Slavoj Zizek, "Es gibt keinen Staat in Europa"(1992), in: Padiglione NSK / Irwin: Gostujoci umetniki / Guest artists, exhibition catalogue XLV. Biennale di Venezia 1993, Moderna Galerija (ed.), Ljubljana 1993
(20) Ibid.
(21) Ibid.
(22) Ibid.
(23) Miran Mohar (Irwin), in: Eda Cufer, "The Symptom of the Vehicle", Interview with Irwin (NSK), 1995 [unpublished manuscript]

URLs: Transnacionala. A Journey from the East to the West (June 28 - July 28, 1996)

NSK State in Time / The Official NSK Electronic Embassy

Documents / Reviews on "Predictions of Fire" (USA / SLO 1995) by Michael Benson

NSK State Interview

© Inke Arns1997



related URLs:

Transnacionala. A Journey from the East to the West (June 28 - July 28, 1996) or

NSK State in Time / The Official NSK Electronic Embassy

Documents / Reviews on "Predictions of Fire" (USA / SLO 1995) by Michael Benson
NSK State Interview