Alexei Monroe is a Research Fellow at Burren College of Art, Éire. He is a cultural theorist holding a PhD in Communication and Image Studies from The University of Kent. He is the author of Pluralni monolit (MASKA 2003) and Interrogation Machine (MIT Press 2005) on Laibach and the Slovene arts movement NSK. In March 2014 updated French and German translations were published by Ventil Verlag and Le Camion Noir. In October 2016 his second book, Autopsia: Thanatopolis was published by Divus.
His research interests include electronic and industrial music, Yugoslavia, Eastern Europe, architecture and the cultural history of the Stag. In October 2007 he co-presented the research exhibition Jelenometry in Ljubljana, which explored Stag symbolism.
In 2010 he co-organised and moderated an international symposium on the work of Laibach and NSK as part of Laibach's 30th anniversary event and was programme director of the First NSK Citizens' Congress in Berlin, He is the editor of the Congress book State of Emergence (Ploettner Verlag/Poison Cabinet Press 2011) and co-editor of the book Test Dept: Total State Machine (PC Press, 2015). In 2016 he was a member of the organising committee of the 2nd NSK Folk Art Biennale, held at Burren College of Art.
His work has appeared in Contemporary Music Review, Central Europe Review, Kinoeye, Maska, The Wire, New Moment, AS, Trebuchet Magazine and many other publications. He has spoken at institutions including Tate Modern, LSE, Goldsmiths, Stedelijk Museum, Humboldt University, Slovene Academy of Arts and Sciences, Jan Van Eyck Academy, and Trinity College Dublin. He is also active as a music reviewer and DJ.
In the new, German edition of "Interrogation Machine", Alexei Monroe discusses the past and future of the Slovene artistic groups that joined together as Neue Slowenische Kunst, making a huge impact locally and worldwide.
Laibach's use of Slovene cultural imagery is well-known, yet this was always balanced and contradicted by a simultaneous and extensive use of Yugoslav references. Even as it asserted Slovene culture in the most spectacular form yet seen it retained an ambivalent relationship with its Yugoslav context.
The first English-language study of NSK—one of the contemporary art world's most radical forces—with particular focus on the performances and productions of NSK's musical and conceptual division, Laibach.
Churchill once famously described Russia as "a riddle wrapped inside a mystery wrapped inside an enigma". In the Western political and cultural imagination (or fantasy space), this attitude to "Russia" stands in for "the East" generally, and for all that from a Western perspective is archaic, obscure, or perverse. Churchill's description could equally be applied to NSK, and particularly to Laibach, as an equally fascinating and frustrating presence within the Western popular imagination.
What is the best approach to exploring what Laibach, Irwin and the NSK State represent? Fundamentally the work of all NSK groups represents an artistic and also cultural response to the imposed violence of ideology, culture and theory. This perception of violence is present most acutely in Laibach's initial reprocessing of language and ideology and to see how the machine operates it's necessary to return to these traumatic roots.