«Bless my homeland forever»: the totalitarian aesthetic as adaptation and subversion of ideological content. Readings on Laibach's 'The Sound of Music'

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Based on Kim Jong Il's instructions to “creative workers” (On the Art of Opera, 1974), «adaptation» is understood as «a new form of creative work», based on the reinterpretation of an oeuvre that is able to «translate the ideological content of an original work» – as long as it is set in accordance with the nation’s artistic and literary expressions.
In this sense, we focus on the Slovenian band Laibach, whose manifesto and artistic productions allow a reflection on the narrowed relationship between the visual identity of the band (with strong ideological undertones) and their performance, and, most importantly, in what manner can they be understood as an act of subversion and criticism devoid of propagandist purposes.
This communication aimed, therefore, to understand the strategies explored by Laibach in The Sound of Music as “adaptation” and “reinterpretation” of the original work, and how the totalitarian aesthetics present in both the album’s artwork and its promotional video clips establish affinities between the Nazi Germany and the current Pyongyang regime.
Period21 Nov 2019
Event titleVIII Encontros CITCEM: «In Times of War...»
Event typeConference
Conference number8
LocationPorto, Portugal
Degree of RecognitionNational


  • Visual Culture
  • Moving Image
  • Totalitarian Aesthetics
  • Music
  • Visual Music