Marina Gržinić | photo by Jane-Stravs

Slovenia’s Punk Revolution: A Conversation with Marina Gržinić by Daniel Makagon

Apr 25, 2024

Part of the Seeing the Scene Series

The first wave of published histories of punk focused on the well-known bands and the larger cities, but since that time there has been an explosion of new information about smaller scenes and the bands that helped make those scenes. Of course, many zines in the past balanced a focus on the local with links to national and international punk, often via scene reports. However, the proliferation of personal websites, blogs, and social media outlets created opportunities for individuals to share their personal connections to historical punk and for people around the globe to learn about collective histories. We can read stories, see photos, and watch videos that document unique and common qualities of different scenes.

Marina Gržinić is a philosopher, theorist, and artist who splits here time between the Institute of Philosophy at the Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Ljubljana, Slovenia and the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. She moved to Ljubljana at a time when punk was being discovered and inspiring some people in the former Yugoslavia to make their own scenes. She describes a unique scene in Ljubljana that was grounded in the politics of the time, where punks sought to both enact socialist ideals and resist some of the communist bloc norms. Photography and other visual arts were crucial features of the growing punk scene in Ljubljana and she actively participated in that scene through her work at the ŠKUC Gallery. Most recently, Marina has been involved with the curation of exhibitions that present the politics of Slovenian punk in the 1970s and 1980s as well as punk’s links to a variety of parallel socio-cultural shifts in Slovenia.

Daniel: How and when did you discover punk?

Marina: I followed the punk scene of ’77 that emerged in Slovenia. It was still Yugoslavia back then. I was about eighteen years old, 1975/76. I came to Ljubljana from another part of the former Yugoslavia, from Rijeka. Rijeka is about a hundred kilometers (sixty miles) away from Ljubljana. It is the largest port city in Croatia, which is an important point. Ports are places for a lot of information and there was a large Italian minority in this city. I went to Ljubljana to study sociology, journalism, and political science. This was also important because Ljubljana was a significant arena for the punk movement, which was also very political.

In May 1969, the student radio station began broadcasting in Slovenian under the name Radio Študent (RŠ). It was a direct result of the student struggles of 1968 and was the first electronic medium in the former Yugoslavia that operated autonomously as a student radio system and was excluded from the direct control of the mass media by the communists. The communist party handed it over to the socialist youth organization with the idea that we needed an environment in which we could exercise a certain independence. Radio Študent is the oldest continuously operating student and community radio station in Europe.

Ljubljana was different from other places in Yugoslavia. At that time, about twenty million people lived in Yugoslavia. Today, Slovenia has only two million inhabitants. I say this to try to explain the size of territories involved historically. Therefore, in Slovenia, cultural change took place differently than in a city like Belgrade in Serbia. Belgrade was the capital of Yugoslavia and had the size that was almost of half of all of Slovenia. Student protests in Belgrade in 1968 were wild and violent. People were put in prison.

Slovenia was the northernmost part of Yugoslavia, bordering Italy and Austria. These were capitalist states and Yugoslavia was under socialism. Therefore, Radio Študent was and is very important. The radius of this radio station included Ljubljana and its surroundings, but Ljubljana was the capital of Slovenia. From that moment on, we only listened to Radio Študent. Punk music came soon after the Sex Pistols; the first band, Pankrti (The Bastards), had their first gig in Ljubljana two years after the Sex Pistols formed. It was in the fall of 1977, the Pankrti’s frontman was studying at the same University in Ljubljana as me. The punks were all influenced by Radio Študent and it helped the scene to develop. It is important to repeat that we have always lived under socialism, as opposed to the liberal capitalism that the Sex Pistols spat on.

I listened to the music and in 1978 I started to get involved in one of these student organizations: The ŠKUC Gallery at Stari trg 21, right in the center of Ljubljana. It was the gallery of the student cultural center, or ŠKUC for short. We started with a completely new idea of visual culture that reflected a do-it-yourself logic, including the production of zines. Punk was part of the turmoil, a very progressive way of thinking and being. People were attracted to these differences, and they came from different backgrounds. Not everything came from punk, since there were various parallel changes. For example, the LGBT scene was alive, and also this interest in a new visual culture—the zines, the punks, and other bands, influenced by the Sex Pistols, The Clash, Kraftwerk, Throbbing Gristle, the Residents, et cetera.

Pankrti at Menza, Ljubljana, April 20 1979 | photo by Dušan Gerlica

Daniel: This is very interesting. If we back up a little musically, what was happening before punk started to catch on there?

Marina: Rock music, but that also means someone like Iggy Pop. On the radio after ’68 was the rock that we now call classic rock. That was the case all over ex-Yugoslavia. I was not a big listener back then; I was not interested. But as I said, punk came from Rijeka because it was a port city, and from Ljubljana because of RŠ and through newspapers and magazines. All of that was legal. This was not the case in many states of the former Soviet bloc of Eastern Europe. In the former Yugoslavia there was a position that is rarely mentioned. We were thrown into the same pot or bloc with the Soviet Union, but that was a different story. Yes, there was communism and socialism everywhere, but ex-Yugoslavia was really between East and West. We could travel. Everyone had a passport. The only problem was that you did not have any money. [laughs] But I could go anywhere by hitchhiking. That was something else. In other parts of the Soviet Union bloc, you could not go anywhere. We could go anywhere. Italy was very close by; the Italians copied everything, every style and every movement, and translated everything. You could watch everything on Italian television, and I didn’t watch any other television. I belonged to the Italian minority in Rijeka, the central city of the minority in Yugoslavia, and my mother tongue was and is Italian. I later learned Croatian and even more later Slovenian, which are all very different languages.

Daniel: I want to come back to something you said earlier about Belgrade. You’ve mentioned Rijeka in Croatia in addition to Ljubljana as two cities that embraced punk. Was there a major difference within Yugoslavia at that time when it comes to punk culture? The freedom that you describe in Ljubljana for alternative culture, was that the same throughout Yugoslavia at that time?

Marina: There were big differences. Let’s say punk was associated with political and social unrest. It brought a revolution. That’s how I see it. I think the best poetry came from punk, Brane Bitenc’s lyrics, for example. He was a member of the punk band Otroci Socializma (The Children Of Socialism). There was a punk band in Rijeka called Paraf. That means something like “paragraphs.” They had the best analysis of police repression. In addition, they were interested in what the working class was. Paraf’s first concert was in 1976. However, that was not the case in other parts of the country.

Before punk, the culture and arts in Slovenia were very formal and modernist. It was different from other places. In Belgrade, you had body art, and performances in 1974 by artists like Marina Abramović. When you think of body art, you first think of nudity, of the body. They had a hippie counterculture and feminism. There was no feminism in Slovenia. In Zagreb, Croatia, there was also a new artistic practice. These were important, radical art movements in these cities.

When punk emerged in Slovenia, there was also political activism that inspired intellectuals who worked at Radio Študent. They influenced, importantly, the formation of the Slovenian punk movement. Some of these intellectuals and political commentators were seen as ideologists of punk; they talked about the meaning of punk and wrote about what was going on in Britain. Britain had a big influence on the bands and the culture. But, again, such a place as Radio Študent did not exist in any other part of Yugoslavia.

Laibach & Igor Vidmar at Disko FV, Ljubljana, 1982. | photo by Siniša Lopojda

People like Igor Vidmar, then and today, were involved at the very start of punk in Slovenia. They wrote a lot about the music scene and politics. Many of them studied political science. At the base was the strong influence of the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci and his idea of the organic intellectual. We believed in socialism. It was not like in Czechoslovakia, or other states of the so-called Soviet bloc, where people were active in the very underground and were dreaming to tear down communism. We were publishing zines and distributing them in public spaces. But in other parts of the Eastern communist bloc, you talked only about samizdat. Samizdat means self-publishing. It was a form of dissident activity throughout the Eastern Bloc, which was influenced by the Soviet Union. It enabled the reproduction of censored and underground publications. This practice of manual reproduction was an important grassroots practice, as typewriters and printing devices required official registration and permission for access. In Yugoslavia and Slovenia, we could use Xerox, Polaroid, and VHS video technology, all technologies of reproducibility. If we recall Walter Benjamin’s writings on reproducibility as a means of democratization, it is obvious that we witnessed a radical difference in terms of access to the tools of mass media, visual culture, and public discourse.

We believed in socialism and its promise and wanted to fulfill this promise of equality, community, and freedom immediately. We all belonged to the working class. We were not belonging to the “red” bourgeoisie. They had nothing to do with it. It was a working-class situation.

Daniel: Given what you have described, this radio station was playing punk and DJs talked about politics. What else was happening?

Marina: Reggae was super important. Reggae was one of the parallel cultural forms I mentioned. Reggae, experimental jazz. All these types of music were played. You had some underground—literally in the basement of the student dorm—clubs or community spaces that played music every night, punk gigs, dancing, and drinking. The most known was a club called Disko FV. It was not a disco in terms of disco music. The full name was Disko FV 112/15. It was a pure code, cybernetics in the midst of socialism. Contextualizing the place of culture in the political environment of socialism meant creating a new oppositional code. The group that created the disco drew on a standard dictionary, as they exist in every country. It was called Slovar Tujk, which was very popular. It contained many terms. The FV in the name of the disco stands for the initials of this brilliant lexicographer responsible for the dictionary, France Verbinc. I know this is very specific, but on page 112 in the dictionary, text line 15, you will find an imprint “C’est la guerre.” Verbinc explains that this means: “It’s the war.”

There was also a reggae club nearby. We could shift from one to the other and that way we also formed a different collective identity. Pankrti, as mentioned already, started in ’77, their first public performance was on October 18, 1977 at the Gymnasium Moste in Ljubljana, and then others came immediately. Many gigs were organized in the huge dining hall of the student dorm. Young people in general and punks more specifically were involved. Young people came to Ljubljana from small cities and villages around Ljubljana as well as from the other parts of the vast territory of Yugoslavia to study in Ljubljana. In the photographs, you see sweating bodies at the punk concerts, one on top of the other, that form a new public, punk audience. The energy of punk music showed us something completely different that did not exist with rock’n’roll. With punk, we came together, body on body. These experiences can also be seen in the photographs. What was hidden for forty or more years, we presented in the exhibition titled “Slovenian Punk and Photography” at the Cankarjev dom in Ljubljana in 2023.

Tožibabe, Ljubljana, May 8, 1986 | photo by Janez Bogataj (National Museum of Contemporary History of Slovenia)

Daniel: Let me ask you one more question about the context of the scene you are describing and then I’d like to shift to the photography exhibit. You talked about local punk bands and foreign punk bands. And you said that reggae was also important. In the late ’70s, in terms of reggae, there were English labels, but most records were pressed in Jamaica. How did people in Ljubljana find punk and reggae records?

Marina: Me personally, through Italy. But there were also other travels. I remember a journey. I was hitchhiking with a group of people. It was the end of the 1970s. I bought a bunch of records in London. That was the only thing I bought. All the money I had, I invested in records. Then this music was played also on Radio Študent. The same was true for others. People could go to Italy, for example. The closest city, Trieste, had everything. It was only seventy-five kilometers (forty-seven miles) from Rijeka and ninety-five kilometers (sixty miles) from Ljubljana. You could buy records and books and bring them back without big problems. Again, the only problem was money. I remember that the border officials were shocked when I came back with my backpack, from London, in which I had packed twenty LPs. They asked, “What is this?” What kind of creature brings records instead of food or something else? [laughs]

As for Italy and its proximity to Slovenia and Croatia, I have to mention that the shopping fever began in the 1960s, as in the U.S.A., for example. That was the “liberalization” of capitalism and Yugoslav socialism. However, there has always been animosity between Italy and Yugoslavia, especially when it came to Trieste. In the past, Italy was a fascist country, and during the Second World War, Yugoslavia had a strong anti-fascist history. There were these tensions between the fascists in Italy and the communists and now there are the same problems again with the fascists in Italy. It is almost fifty years later, and some things are still the same.

Lublanski psi, Ljubljana, May 1981 | photo by Vojko Flegar

Daniel: History repeats itself. I want to move on to talk about the exhibition. How did this exhibit come together?

Marina: I was running the gallery of the student culture center, the ŠKUC Gallery. I started in the late ’70s with Dušan Mandić and others. At that point, those who were photographing at the punk concerts, or events in and around punk (style, images of spaces), were taking black and white photos. They were very young, had cameras, went to concerts, and understood that this was a revolution. They took the photos to document what was going on. I exhibited their photos in ŠKUC Gallery. Just to be clear, I’m sixty-five now, so I was really like them back then: I was young, and I understood the power of this new cultural movement. I ran this gallery with other people, although we were not really paid. I grew up with these photographers and knew them very well. And I grew up with the bands. Of course, some of them disappeared. I always understood that there was great potential from and by these photographs, a power of the archive, a punk archive.

And at the same time, there was no interest in these photographs by the official socialist galleries or museums, though they had money. ŠKUC Gallery was the alternative, a subcultural space. Some of the photographers from that time started to digitize their photos in the 2000s, when scanning negatives became possible and more accessible. And some of them are now known as professional photographers, including people who have been around since ’68. For example, Tone Stojko is a living archival photographic apparatus [laughs], who completely dedicated his life to photography. He is eighty years old.

Let me say something else about today. There is a scientific center, which is a public center, the Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (ZRC SAZU). I work there as a researcher at the Institute of Philosophy. A project on subcultures in the 1980s was running at the ZRC SAZU in the last few years. The person in charge of the project, Dr. Oto Luthar, is also the director of ZRC SAZU. He knew my past and my work and said to me: “Marina, I am doing this research. I have a small budget. Would you be interested in doing an exhibition about photography?” You know, when someone asks you to do something like this, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. “Yes, of course.” I had a very clear curatorial vision. I asked a younger colleague, Dr. Jovita Pristovšek, to join as an assistant on the project. I also understood that photography was the least present as an archival tool in Slovenia. Completely neglected.

Museums in Slovenia have always marginalized photography that was not part of the modernist canon. The Museum of Modern Art didn’t understand all that. They were stuck in the ’50s and ’60s, displaying modernist photos. When I showed photos in the 1980s in the ŠKUC Gallery, the art critics and art historians told me: “What is that? That’s nothing. That’s junk.” I thought to myself, “Okay, that’s your problem because you live in a different world.” To put it differently, each big revolutionary movement has a proper archival tool, and photography was such an apparatus to punk, as video was the 1980s when mass culture turned to MTV.

Then we had to think where to exhibit this show. We had photographs and a lot of interesting materials: videos, poster replicas, zines, music artifacts, et cetera. When I got this new opportunity, I said to myself, “It has to be a public space.” In ’77, at the same time as punk emerged, construction began of this center called Cankarjev dom. This is now Slovenia’s most important cultural center in Ljubljana. I always asked myself: “Who are they doing all this for?” We went to underground music and culture, spending our nights at club Disko FV while this big, “real” project of Slovenian culture was being built for a few years alongside the punk movement.

photo by DK

One of the photographers told us that he worked there doing construction to earn money and then used the money to buy film to photograph the punk concerts. So, we decided to go back to that place. Still, public money comes from the state in this public art and cultural multiplex. I asked if it would be possible to do the show there because we needed a big space. I knew the director. She was also part of the punk movement. Cankarjev dom squeezed us into the program with a fantastic gallery and gave us a slot for two months. The exhibition was so popular that we probably could have kept it open for another four months and it would draw a full of audience. However, I also argued that we have to give the artists some humble fee. The extractivist logic in culture in neoliberalism is just disgusting. Too often, everything is taken away from artists or companions of movements and nobody invests in their work. We cannot just take these archives. Unfortunately, that is the case today: no investment in the archives, in history. We did something different by paying the artists.

I started to research deeply because all the photographers were men. Also, because the LGBT movement was parallel to all of this, 1984 was the year of the first coming out of the gay community in the whole former Eastern European bloc. We organized the “Magnus. Homosexuality and Culture” festival. Magnus also marks the start of the LGBT film festival, which is considered the oldest LGBT film festival in Europe. I worked on this program because I ran the ŠKUC Gallery and was into it with all my body, political stance, and the idea of emancipatory politics. I wanted these things to be together in the exhibition; they should be together because they grew parallel to each other. Of course, there were women’s bands, but too often women were not included in the materials. Only men. I did a lot of research so we could show a new perspective, within punk socialism, of what was going on. Some people, old people, were grumpy at the opening of the exhibition. They asked, “Why is it all together?” I said, “Because it was all happening together.” It was similar in the U.K. in the 1980s: LGBT and punk support for the miners’ strike in the U.K. I’m referring to the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) alliance in the U.K. that supported the National Union of Mineworkers during the year-long strike of 1984–1985. Parallel actions.

What kind of politics will we share with audiences and the public today if this will not be a part of the curatorial logic of this exhibition, Slovenian Punk and Photography? What will we leave as a message after the exhibition ends? The idea was a political stance of punk that is stronger than the history of punk as it supposedly was at the time, some male photographers; just get the photos and show them. Therefore, a lot of work was invested in the aesthetics of the display of the exhibition, in the rhythm of unfolding of one selection on the other, parallel to the other. There is this fantastic book by Tina Campt, Listening to the Images. That was very inspirational book. We wanted to draw out a new meaning by opening a space of dialog between the materials and the present, paying much attention to the layer of affectivity condensed in this new photographic punk archive. Of course, punk is and was political.

It would be crazy if we just stayed in the ’70s without having a perspective for the future. That would be easy, but wrong. I wanted to make sure that we considered all the possibilities.

We opened on December 4, 2023 in Ljubljana. There were about five hundred people at the opening. I have never conducted so many guided tours in my life. With Jovita, we would come to the gallery every week for a guided tour, completely overbooked. During the last period of the show, twice a week. These tours took place until the very last day of the exhibition in mid-February 2024.

Daniel: In terms of procuring the photos, you said a moment ago that many of the photographers were your friends and that some started scanning photos in the 2000s. But people move, they die, and they shift into different life priorities. Can you talk about the process of working with the photographers and their photos to curate this exhibition?

Marina: One person could not be found, and another has died. The family of the deceased photographer donated his entire photographic oeuvre to the Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana. I have to say that they did a terrible exhibition there because they treated the subculture as if it were dead nature, they equipped the photographs with enormous white passepartout. The photos were barely visible. I wanted an urban exhibition that is contemporary and that captures the life and politics of punk, post-punk, LGBT, and other subcultures. We called the movement around the ŠKUC Gallery and publishing of the zines and visuals, the Ljubljana subcultural or alternative movement. I didn’t want a nineteenth-century museum presentation.

So, yes, it was possible to get a lot of materials from people. We were able to get VHS tapes, which were fantastic to watch, to see these bands. We also digitized the photos and displayed them on touchscreens. You could travel around the exhibition to different times (1960s to 1970s, 1970s to 1980s, and then to 2022). And you could travel to different spaces where the parallel scenes took place. Over time, it was not just Ljubljana. Other small towns had a strong punk nucleus, such as Idrija. And I also had all these artifacts because I am an archivist. I brought a lot of cassettes because the first punk bands, including Laibach, released music on cassette. ŠKUC Gallery released some of these cassettes, which was something unique. I have all these releases at home (only one copy), of course as all the others in a circulation of one hundred to two hundred were taken or sold for a few bucks.

And I brought fanzines, the originals, to show how we used all the old avant-garde techniques to make the zines. That was also an important aspect of the exhibition, to show the material conditions of this subculture, and its connection with DADA art and mass culture. One really important thing is that DIY was possible in ex-Yugoslavia, in Slovenia, because we could use Xerox. In other Eastern Bloc countries, Xerox was forbidden. But not in the former Yugoslavia. We had access to media. Xerox. Polaroids. However, we had no money. You had to figure out how to buy the film, take the pictures, and sometimes rely on the flash of a photographer who came from the main newspaper because he wanted to see what was going on. A photographer who was included in the exhibition explained to the public, “I put myself behind him and waited for him to make a photo, so I could use his flash light.” That access to the media was crucial. In addition, we were able to use video. VHS. That possibility, so early in history, did not exist anywhere in any other part of former communist Eastern Europe. Because we had access to Xerox, we were able to create and publish zines. The first zine published by the ŠKUC Gallery was in 1981.

Now to the exhibition. The confidence of the photographers was great. We had great support from the team at Cankarjev dom and also from an incredibly dedicated curator from the National Museum of Contemporary History of Slovenia (Nataša Strlič). The people who were involved in punk—the photographers, and the people who made zines and had VHS tapes—they understood the historical dynamics. They kept these things. Some of them even discovered new negatives when we asked them about their work. That is fantastic. They called me and said, “I discovered a new negative that I didn’t know I had from ’79.” That was amazing. A photographer traveled to West Germany for a concert by Laibach in the early ’80s and brought photographs from that trip.

Daniel: You said at various points that most of the Eastern bloc was closed off to travel. Was East Germany an exception?

Marina: East Germany was closed and Laibach did a tour called Occupied Europe Tour in 1983. Some of the photographers accompanied them. When there was Solidarność (Solidarity) in Poland under peril in the ’80s, the punks from Ljubljana organized a big concert in Ljubljana to support Solidarity. This took place in February 1982 in the Tivoli Hall in Ljubljana, which was two months after the military coup in Poland in December 1981. We could travel. I personally in the beginning of the 1980s did not go to East Germany because I had enough of it at home. 

Can you share a little bit more about the experience of the exhibition? Could people hear the music in the space?

Marina: No, the music was not played out loud, but people could hear it when they approached the videos. And we also had some of the best punk lyrics on display. The lyrics were very political. There was a whole analysis in them, a forensics of socialism. All the promises that were never kept and the people who believed in them. The lyrics represented the positions of the working class. But our main focus was on photography, on the visual and performative aspect of punk culture and the subculture. Part of the show started with ’68 because I had to include that important context. As I said, Radio Študent dates from that time.

The show didn’t end with this early period of punk. It ended with the big protest we had at the time of the pandemic. This gesture was similar to a punk stance: people woke up. In Slovenia, we had a very right-wing, Trump-style political government under Janez Janša. The government said: “You cannot walk around.” What did people do? We rode bicycles because there is a big bicycle culture in Slovenia. We protested for almost two years, from 2020 to 2022, basically every Friday, on bikes. They could not stop people. We rode around the parliament. We had to do that because the media was hijacked by the far-right political forces in Slovenia. It was crazy. So, I decided to end the show with these protests. There were connections between the black bloc and post-punk. You could see all that in the pictures.

The first anti-government cycling protest, Ljubljana, 24 April 2020 | photo by Tone Stojko

The exhibition covers the years 1968 to 2022, but the heart of it is the ’70s and ’80s. We wanted 2000–2022 because you have to ask yourself: “What is a political punk gesture today?” People standing together, bodies being together, bands making songs, and then there are questions about media freedom. After the ’80s, we in Slovenia went straight into what I call turbo-neoliberalism. It’s crazy. We went from hardcore modernism, which was empty and formal, into a punk revolution, but then in the 1990s back to something like the past, but through a turbo-neoliberalism. Now this is the norm in Slovenia.

Daniel: You talked earlier about the passion for photography as well as the tight budget that the photographers faced in the ’70s and ’80s. I assume the photos featured in the exhibit are all black and white.

photo by DK

Marina: One is in color. Fantastic. From 1980. I could not believe it. At first, I thought the photo was contemporary. The photographer said, “No, it’s 1980.” This became one of the most important pictures. We also displayed two that were hand-colored, and this was a punk avant-garde intervention by the photographer already in the ’80s. The black and white photographs were developed at home. So, you could get around the censorship. It was the same with the video. They recorded it on VHS and could keep it for themselves.

Everything in the exhibition has been catalogued in detail. All of the images included the details: when it was done, where it was done, and what was happening. The forensics of a live archive was very essential. Not that you come there, and you just pass through the exhibition and leave with no idea about what the photos mean. You have to know when it was done, who did it, and why. It is also the idea of the social contract of photography that Ariella Azoulay wrote about in The Civil Contract of Photography: you know what you display. I was excited that people came to the exhibition, they saw themselves, and they were in shock. Or they see their children and they didn’t know that they were there. It’s really fantastic.

Daniel: Was there a book or a catalog to go along with the exhibition?

Marina: Yes, we made a catalog, very ample. Everything. It is now also freely available in digital form. It contains theoretical texts by people who were active in the scene and talk about their positions. We also talked about some of the parallel movements and what we wanted to achieve with such an exhibition. Now we are making another catalog because the exhibition will go to Germany. It will be in a wonderful space, the A.K.T in Pforzheim. The invitation came from the main curator of the A.K.T, Janusz Czech. I want this exhibition to be an opportunity to talk about similar and different experiences. There is a big revival in Germany. People are talking about what happened in the former Eastern Europe, about punk, East Berlin punk. However, many people don’t know what happened in the former Yugoslavia, in Slovenia. That is why we are bringing the Slovenian exhibition to Germany. We will organize a panel discussion in which we will discuss many topics about East Germany and the Eastern Bloc countries. Maybe that will be a motivation for another exhibition about East Berlin. Then we want to make a book.

12_Slovenian punk and photography at CD cover catalogue-1-min

I have to say, Daniel, I am very happy to be able to talk to you about punk in Slovenia at this time. We want people to be able to see many dimensions of this punk movement that took place in other parts of the world and that maybe are not known until today. I think it’s also an important point that punk was revolutionary for many people.


Daniel: Absolutely. One of the great things about new forms of media is that we can see and hear punk’s different histories. And it helps when there is careful research to try to uncover something unique within one’s own scene, some moments that might have been missed. Your point about unearthing the color photograph is an example of this idea.

First of all, I can say that some of the old bands have started playing again. And they have also started to release their old music again so that more people can listen to it. Borghesia is one of these bands. Sometimes this happens through compilations. I also want to say that there are not only relationships between old punks and younger punks, but there are other parallel groups. I think that in other parts of former Yugoslavia, in Bosnia, rap and hip hop play a big role. It’s a different kind of music, a different kind of storytelling, and a different kind of songwriting, but there’s an incredible continuity. Of course, everything has changed. A different generation of young people. Some have no place to go. I already said that with the exhibition we wanted to show that women were very much involved in punk. We invited the women's band Tožibabe to play at the opening. Everyone was shocked. We wanted to show the parallel social movements and that punk was and still is very important for many people.

Marina’s website:

The exhibition website:

Exhibition catalogue:

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