Interview with Turbund Sturmwerk

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First of all I would like to ask you: the hymns, marches, military rhythms, deep tragicalness and dramatism of your philosophy and symbolism... all these and many other elements of expression that you use in your work - could you give me a more clear idea about your activity and vision?

We march under the Sign of Spiritual Warriordom, which means the strongest momentum of rootedness to us. The significance is in daring - because we are looking for fulfillment, not for salvation. Through darkness we have to march - into destiny, while no-one tells us where to go. Like a burrowing plough of red hot iron, levelling the path and tearing open hearts in the cracking beat of our pulse; like a storm-doomed shock troop - kettle-drum beat its step and fanfare timbre its metallic breath. And while we thus march, irresistibly torn onward by the force of our own step -- we hope for a command to resound, so that we can feel our aim, with tears in the eyes and a laughter in the chest, not remembering any more where we came from, where we are, what stands left or right. In simplification and in self-restriction lies the prerequisite for the strongest agglomeration of will in soldierly attitude. - And Blood is never shed in vain, it always claims its rights that have to be met with one day...

Could you tell me more about the TYR Organisation?

Organisation Tyr was formed in 1992, to release the first issue of the newsletter Sturmgeweiht and as a means to organize a multimedia Artwert performance focussing on the methods and styles of totalitarian propaganda., which was thought to happen in NØrnberg - the city well known because of its special importance for National Socialism. However, that event was cancelled by certain local instances that were obviously afraid of getting confronted with a form of artistic expression they felt "dangerous" in any respect. The Turbund association emerged from that experience as we tried to bundle the weak forces of "counterculture" to get offensive again after that defeat.

Can you tell me more about your interest in characters like Ernst Juenger and Heiner Mueller? You dedicated your 7" EP "Der letzte Sieger ist der Tod" to both, would you like to elaborate?

Juenger and Mueller are two of the most interesting authors if you want to learn more about Germany's national identity and history from native speakers; and what is more, their writings complete one another. Juenger began as a national revolutionary who felt some sympathy for the volkish movement after World War I but tried to evade National Socialism to become something like a philosopher, who formulated some pretty idealistic views on history after World War II; Mueller, whose father was an internationalist and anti-fascist, changed from an disciple to a revisionist of Brecht and Socialist Realism in East Germany and could be addressed as a historical pessimist. Both had in common a certain sense of humour towards mankind and, above all, an amazing talent in observation that appears very exact, but almost without any emotion. So Juenger and Mueller to us seemed perfect embodiments of two characteristic human qualities: the optimism of the will and the pessimism of the mind, which is basically what our 7" is about, whose title means something like "Death conquers all".

Could you tell me more about German artist Joseph Thorak and your contribution to the forthcoming tribute release? What do you think about the relation between music (art) and ideology in general? What about propaganda and provocation methods in art?

The THORAK compilation on VAWS has come out in the meantime. Turbund Sturmwerk participated with the track 'Hingabe' (Devotion) which will surprise many in respect of its sound since it refuses itself to the otherwise pre-eminent neoclassical habitus - in order to onomatopoetically lead out of the Weimaran fair of feigned artistical vanities, out onto the cleared path of artistic determination; and to give expression to the necessity of soulish fundamentals for truly artful creation which in his own way the ostracized artist Thorak represented. Generally speaking there seem to be a lot of people that cannot understand why we prefer that "old-fashioned" kind of artistic expression to "contemporary art" or "avant-garde". But we think it's time to realize that in an age in which avant-gardism long since has become bourgeois, genuine artistic venture now but lies in the realm of binding assertion. Here, inferior efforts expose themselves in which nothing more is inherent than forced effect and calculated emotiveness which at most can hold their own politically and morally but never aesthetically as "true Art", which will always have to be sought for in proximity to Religion or a general belief in a higher reality, nourished by the yearning of human beings to attain understanding of themselves and the world. It is because of this that Art needs functional aesthetical values, a subject conveying contents. To merely use the gestures of the creative subject, the shards of the artistical, is not enough. For example: to construct, out of clay, canvas, paint, line, and volume spot explosions, artificial line ornaments, four-dimensional sculptures or psychoanalytical testcards, may even need a little talent - however, a piece of Art is not attained by just that. The modern mannerism of the denial of art is just as much Art as the rejection of trusting religiosity makes a Religion; but atheists would not claim such nonsense - quite opposed to the representatives and followers of subject-less and, hence, harmless 'avantgarde'.

What do you think about the recently growing interest in such things like volkish ideology, occult images, medieval history, mysticism, also in the context of current art? Do you assume any relation with the cultural/philosophic/historic/religious decline of Europe, the ruin of highest traditions and national identities or the American mass culture invasion?

Such symptoms quickly get over-estimated, but at least a vague coherence seems obvious to us... Many people feel bored and dis-illusioned by the ruling system of lies and money all over the world. They try to focus on their cultural traditon and creed -- or just to flee into the past or any private universe of beliefs and attitudes that stands against the Modern World.

What about your obvious interest in history, the World Wars, the III. Reich and matters concerned which seems obvious from your frequent use of sound samples, symbols and images from that period... By the way, it is no secret that there was some media accusation against you, as for example in "Junge Welt" (#7, 1997), claiming that you feel some sympathy for Right-wing politics or even Nazi ideology.

Honestly speaking, we don't feel the vaguest interest, let alone necessity, to discuss or even legitimize our personal interests, taste or means of artistic expression if we face people driven by a very simplistic neurology that roots in political lowlands we don't tend to enter any more. As for the media accusations we'd like to point out that all of this nonsense has its origin in but one single person who was lucky enough to find some papers that allowed him to offer his conspiracy fantasy about some "Right-wing cultural underground network". Actually this guy seems to have succeded in making a living out of his propaganda, utilizing the general neurosis of German post-war generations that have been told to feel guilty for the most awful crimes "of their fathers" again and again.

Probably you heard already recent escalations at the concerts of Blood Axis, Death In June, Der Blutharsch in Europe? In that situation what do you think about Antifa activity?

It's a stunning example of human stupidity because these Antifa groups do wrong things for wrong reasons - but all in all with some positive effect, for paradoxically they seem responsible for a growing public interest in projects, views and aesthetics they pretend to fight.

Your opinion about censorship, the liberty of expression/performing?

There will always be people that stand for their opinion and their experiences under any circumstances -- and such exhausting themselves as they insist on their illusionary "right" of free speech in a very naive way which we feel not relevant.

Back to Turbund philosophy, what's the meaning of the term "ideology" for you? Could you tell me more about the Turbund Manifesto (1991-92)?

That question is rather difficult to discuss in an abstract and comprehensive way. But we'll try to do so with regard to our method of "perceptive hygiene" that has not yet been specified in English language: Even if the ideological observer does include into his reflection a stage which he feels to be "essence" or "personality"; or if he (out of romantical mental trauma or something) carries around and feeds a small immaculate island on which the antimaterial "Ego" ekes out its Sacred Existence in order to put up a last shield against the destructive wedge of nihilism, virtually as a neurological immune system -- we tend to deny the primordiality, the 'reality' of this essence. Essence ist manifested by acting; acting in this context is also (ideological) perceiving, reflecting, establishing (i.e. deciding). Any perception - conscious or unconscious - is a decision, an interpretation, a selective event. Consequently any process which is perceived as personality, as essence, is a track of selection - by which the basis of reflection defines and creates the reflection as well as the observer. This the neurosemiotic soldier always keeps in mind, and to be able to remain a warrior and not to fall victim to ruinous relativism and agnosticism, he lays down the highest judgement, the maxim into a stratification of values. Reflection is the path, the path is the law - the aim and the essence a product. By active proclamation of a chain of values the path becomes the march. Soldierly spirit is orientation to us in this! Soldierly spirit means to us the dynamic completeness and intensity of perception (i.e. taking-for-truth) by restriction, purification, and ennoblement of values through proclamation. The intensity of perception finds its source in willed restriction and categorisation of the criteria of accountability that guide the reflection. Dynamic completeness is as well grounded in a restriction of the viewing of the world - as a human being who does not know about the complexity of the laws of nature, who does not even have a presentiment of these, is given much faster the possibility of "completeness" within his limits of reflection of nature, which are as true and as false as those of a Newton. The clarity and exclusivness with which soldierly spirit, that is, mainly restriction, rules and gives birth to a final ambivalence of sense and acting with - by postulate - clearly visible criteria of achievement (reliability as an autonomous value!) which are only incumbent on action and acting subject. Scarcely no system of thought allows for such a far-reaching adaptation to the level of "personality", an unification with an idea, since precisely this idea is materialised via the acting subject, the judging subject - and in this way only -, as autonomous essence without commitment to a content. Soldierly ideals are laws unto themselves; even without an aim the March always indicates the way, and gives the possibility to place "right" or "wrong". The March is the counterpart of nihilism, no matter whether this has been inflicted to erect or to destroy, whether for or against a belief. An enemy is one of the few possible absolute figments. The figurative defines essentiality, an enemy gives the possibility for the march to be real. And yet soldierly spirit does exist without war and enemy. Struggle can stand for itself as maxim of all experience. In it concepts become absolute. Struggle creates commitment, firmness, owns an absolute of aesthetics, which is exactly what we would like to achieve.

Your opinion about Russia and the situation in Russia now and then?

Actually we feel great sympathy for the Russian people that had to suffer everything that peoples have had to suffer since the beginning of written history. The German people should feel that most great lands of culture lie East of us and be aware of the fact that only the great cultures root and last in dephts. We know ourselves to be the bearers of a great culture and, consequently, as brothers of all those who, like us, have to carry a honorable and huge tradition. The peoples of the West have their mind dancing over the streams of gold, but no soul. They know gold and its effects but they know nothing of the powers of the soul that cannot be bought and are higher than any reason. The peoples of the East have faith in immovable forces to whom they know themselves to be obliged to, out of whom their kind emerges and to whom they return when their hour has struck...

In your personal opinion, what is the notion, conception of the Decline of Western Civilization and how do you reflect this in your ideas and actions? Could you tell me about your personal vision for the so-called "European way" in the near future?

One thing we would like to express is quite simply that there even lies some hope in decay! The final decline of the West is just as unavoidable as that of Bolshevism. After that, hopefully a new morning will rise. One can't help but accept the cycles of existence. Only a fool would lament for the falling leaves in autumn. Shall the pale leaves fall off. We rather wait for a next spring instead of perpetrating putative acts of rescue at the wrong time, because we seem to live in a stage of evolution where action or progress can only further dizziness, while it's too late for re-action/conservatism. Leap up and into position!

Igor Vaganov vs. Turbund Sturmwerk, January 1999