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the concept of nation: negri/laibach

  • Cinemateket 16 Dronningens gate Oslo, Oslo, 0105 Norway (map)
Antonio Negri

Laibach and Petr Svarovsky in conversation (12:00) / Film (14.00) / Lecture with Antonio Negri (15:00) 


‘What is man? The slave of death, a passing wayfarer’

Alcuin of York (735–804)

Retracing the origins of European nation states from the late Middle Ages via their evolution to the present, philosopher, globalization theorist and activist Antonio Negri, co-author of the acclaimed Empire (2005), explains the spiritual and political construction of an ideology that prepared the ground for democracy while at the same time endorsing power struggles and oppression.

Pre-Renaissance society was controlled by the church and subjugated to natural laws. Reacting to this, humanist thinkers such as Dante, Galileo and Spinoza drew heavenly powers down to earth and advocated knowledge and human action. Technology and the liberal arts became tools for bringing nature under control, and the old theological state was gradually replaced by a secular society with spiritual foundations based on national identity. 

Negri’s rereading of history uncovers the power structures that underpin contemporary global society and raise questions about our own participation in the configuration of a new world order.

Before the lecture we will show a documentary about Negri´s life: A Revolt that never ends.


12:00 Defying Ideologies

With Laibach, Petr Svarovsky (discussion)

Slovenian collective Laibach are an example of how artists can mobilise themselves to find innovative ways of defying prevailing political ideologies. Formed in 1980 in Tito´s Yugoslavia, the group soon became known for their controversial use of political symbols in cover versions of iconic rock, pop and classical music. With a strategy ‘to take the system more seriously that it takes itself’, they appropriate elements of totalitarian political systems and dogmatic art movements, and, as in a game of rock, paper, scissors, juxtapose them in order to reveal the emptiness of radical ideologies.

With their Ultima commission – a version of Grieg’s unfinished opera Olav Trygvasson (Sentrum Scene 13.9 at 11pm) – as a starting point, the group will talk to media artist Petr Svarovsky about how they select the elements to construct their audiovisual presence. Read more about Laibach  here. 






About Antonio Negri

Antonio Negri is an Italian sociologist, scholar, revolutionary philosopher and teacher. He studies anti-capitalism, postmodernism, noeliberalism and democratic globalization Very active within Marxist worker´s movements in the 50s and 60s, Negri has spent several years in prison and then in exile in Paris, where he taught philosophy courses at the Université de Paris VIII (Saint Denis), with among others Deleuze and Guattari, and at the Collège International de Philosophie, founded by Jacques Derrida. Many of his most influential books were published while he was behind bars. He is most well known for his groundbreaking work Empire, which he wrote with Michael Hardt in 2000. He now lives between Venice and Paris. Read more about Negri´s publications here

On Friday 12 Septermber Antonio Negri will talk about his books and political engagement at Litteraturhuset.



About Petr Svarovsky

Petr Svarovsky (b. 1962 in Czechoslovakia) lives and works in Oslo, Norway. He focuses on relation between art, technology and consciousness. Svarovsky works within the field of interactive sound installations, advanced virtual reality and the Internet.  Svarovsky has exhibited his work internationally at institutions including the Netherlands Media Arts Institute, the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, at independent venues and galleries including UKS (Oslo, Norway), STATIC (UK) and Aktions galerie in Berlin and at festivals including the FILE Festival (Sao Paulo, Brazil), Ars Electronica Linz and the Venice Biennale. He has given presentations and lectures at institutions including the University of Oslo, the Goethe Institut in Prague and the Universitat Politecnica de Valencia.



Earlier Event: September 12
scelsi revisited/analysis:anahit
Later Event: September 14
some use for your broken clay pots