Thursday, May 8, 2014

Musical Materialities in the Digital Age Conference

Not participating in this but looks cool: 
Musical Materialities in the Digital Age
Conference, 27-28 June 2014, University of Sussex, Brighton
Overview: Music, while summoning notions of intangibility, transience and loss,
is also associated with material objects that serve to ground the musical, 
make the transient permanent and defer loss. Unearthing music’s association
with materiality reveals a fascinating array of artefacts, including instruments, 
scores, transcribing devices, sound recordings and much more. Such artefacts
provide vital reference points for historical research as well as inviting new
creative uses, rediscoveries and (re)mediations. They also add to the
ever-growing archives of past objects, whether stored in ‘physical’ or digital forms. 
Music’s material traces serve as vital ways of mediating memory, whether in private collections 
or public exhibitions. Furthermore, the use of musical ‘ephemera’ such as record sleeves, programmes, 
flyers and posters as a primary means for  putting the popular musical past on display in museums and galleries has highlighted the ways in which
such objects are  not so ephemeral after all.
The persistence of musical artefacts and musical materialities following the period of their initial use
value poses interesting questions. What is the fate of musical artefacts once they become obsolescent?
What becomes of music and its objects once relegated to archives? What is the role of musical artefacts 
in helping us to understand the past? What is the relationship between the physical and the digital in terms of music’s objects? 
To what extent does a focus on music’s objects challenge the idea of music as a social process? 
Conversely, what role does musical materiality play in the maintenance and development of rituals long associated with music? 
What rituals reformulate musical materiality? What does the remediation of the musical past via ‘media archaeology’ 
have to tell us about present desires, anxieties and needs? What is the role of museums, galleries, sound archives 
and libraries in these processes?
Working from the premise that musical materiality matters, the aim of this two-day interdisciplinary conference 
(welcoming speakers from media studies, music studies, cultural studies, museum studies, memory studies and other cognate disciplines) 
will be to reflect upon the materialities of music bjects and technologies in the digital age, with an emphasis on:
- Processes of remediation
- Residual media of ‘dead media’
- Cultural waste
- Media archaeology (and particular manifestations relating to sound and music, e.g. ‘vinyl archaeology’)
- The recycling of memory and material culture
- The digital archive
- The future of music creation and consumption
- Nostalgia and ‘retromania’
- Music as ‘thing’ and/or ‘process’
- Commodification

Keynotes will be provided by Professor Will Straw and Dr Noel Lobley.
The conference will include a specially convened panel featuring sound curators Andy Linehan and Cheryl Tipp of the British Library. 
Registration and Fees
Registration for the conference is now open. Please register as follows by completing the booking form
at and paying the appropriate fee using one of the payment 
methods listed on the registration page.
The conference fees for ‘Musical Materialities in the Digital Age’ are as follows:
Early bird rate (student): £50 *book by 21 May 2014 to benefit from this rate*
Early bird rate (non-student): £70 *book by 21 May 2014 to benefit from this rate*
Regular rate from 22 May 2014 (student): £60
Regular rate from 22 May 2014 (non-student): £80

Conference organisers
Richard Elliott, University of Sussex
Elodie Roy, Newcastle University

Elodie Roy, again! 

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