conferences

Resonances: Music, Affect, and the City


The header from the poster for the "Resonances" conference.

Header taken from the “Resonances” poster

Last week, I organized a two-day conference here in Berlin, which took the affective dimensions of urban soundscapes as its central theme. Running November 7th–8th at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, the conference featured a mix of scholarly presentations and discussion panels that included professionals out of Berlin’s local music scene, as well as  music/sound-related evening events  (see the conference program at the end of this post).  I’m still recovering from the whole thing (as well as from an opportunistic flu that jumped into my body as soon as the conference came to a close), but I wanted to post some of my impressions of the conference, while they are still vivid in my memory. Considering the vanishingly small operating budget and a similarly tight planning period, I’m somewhat amazed I was able to pull it off at all.

Plans for this conference first arose last July, (more…)

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Lubricating Social Frictions


"Serve Yourself" says the caption over this urinal in Strasbourg, France.

“Serve Yourself” says the caption over this urinal in Strasbourg, France.

The image of the industrial economy as a great machine oiled by the sweat and blood of its workers has been a common trope for Marxist and anti-capitalist writers. Much has changed since the industrial revolution inspired such metaphors, but the costs of lubricating social processes remains a relevant issue in these post-industrial, accelerated, and uncertain times. Based on the last two decades of social and cultural studies, one could gather that the world we live in is becoming increasingly fluid (Bauman) and mobile (Urry). But what enables social and cultural “matter” to flow at increasing rates?

This question is inspired by discussions that took place during the Touring Consumption conference at Karlshochschule this past weekend (more…)

MusicBoard Berlin: Government Interventions in Berlin’s Music Scenes


Some tile-work inside the Abgeordnetenhaus, where the city’s senate meets and does business.

Musicboard is a cultural policy and funding initiative created by Berlin’s municipal government, with the stated goals of supporting the city’s music industry, presumably in a way similar to Berlin’s Medienboard for film and media industries. According to its official website, the project is supposed to “make Berlin more attractive as a site for popular music.”  Starting in 2013, the city of Berlin will make 1 Million Euros available towards supporting these goals, but the debates have already started about how this money will be distributed, what the role of Musicboard should be, who should be running it, and even whether the project will improve or worsen the conditions of music-making in Berlin. (more…)

The Post-Conferences Round-Up


Magnolias blooming off of Washington Square, NYU Campus, during the IASPM/EMP 2012 conference.

Holy crapsticks! I’ve been away from LMGMblog for an inexcusable amount of time. I’ve been quite the busy bee, though. I got a few things published here and there, did some editing on a dissertation chapter that should hopefully turn into a journal article, gave two different papers at two conferences on either side of the Atlantic, and started a new research phase for my current “techno-tourism” project. Oh, and I saw Laurent Garnier play in both Berghain and Panorama Bar last month. I’ve been very busy.

So, here’s a more detailed list of what LMGM’s been up to these past two months, with relevant links and pretty pictures:

(more…)

Lise Waxer and the Strange Histories of Good News


 

Lise Waxer was an ethnomusicologist of salsa music, respected and admired for her critically-acclaimed book tracing the development of salsa music, vinyl recordings, and memory in Colombia, entitled, The City of Musical Memory: Salsa, Record Grooves, and Popular Culture in Cali, Colombia (Wesleyan, 2002). A year later, her book would be awarded the highest prize for a monograph (i.e., single-author book) in her discipline by the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM), namely, the Alan Merriam Prize (2003). But Waxer was never able to receive her prize or the well-deserved recognition that came with it, because she died suddenly in the summer of 2002. That fall, at the meeting of SEM where she was also awarded the Merriam Prize, the Popular Music Section of SEM decided to establish an award in her honor: the Lise Waxer Student Paper Prize. To remember her pathbreaking work in the ethnomusicology of popular music, this prize sought “to recognize the most distinguished student paper in the ethnomusicology of popular music presented at the SEM annual meeting.”

Well, the good news is that I won the Lise Waxer Student Paper Prize this year. (more…)

We Make Interestingness


I love me some contrasting stripes. A lovely public art installation in front of UQÀM, Place Pasteur.

Hey folks, salut de Montréal! I’ve had “write articles for blog” on my to-do list for the last month or so, but then real life keeps on being inconvenient. At the moment, I’m in Montréal for the AAA meeting (American Anthropological Association), which is a massive 7000-person mega-conference. I gave a paper last Wednesday, spent the rest of the week going to far too many papers, dropped an obscene amount of money at The Bay buying proper Canadian winter clothing, and now I’m preparing to go give a guest lecture in a seminar at UQÀM (Université de Québec à Montréal). I’m still planning on finishing the series of summaries of my dissertation chapters—and I have an interesting report on the BerMuDa weekend in Berlin, too—but here’s a short little thing to tide us all over. Oh, and by the way, I heard that, way over at the Society for Ethnomusicology conference (SEM), I was awarded the Lise Waxer Student Paper prize for the paper I gave last year. Yay! Incidentally, the paper was drawn from one of my dissertation chapters on “liquidarity”.

So, I once made a sort of joke-motto with some fellow humanities grad students that went something like this: “The Humanities: We Make Interestingness.” This was in response to (more…)

New Orleans by Train, the Adventures thereupon


Alright, I’m writing this nearly two weeks after the fact, but I thought I needed to document this experience.

I was heading down to New Orleans for to give a paper at the conference of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music, US Branch (IASPM-US), which was to be held that coming weekend. Ever since the financial crunch, travel funding from UofC has gone from “tightwad” to “Monte Burns,” so I couldn’t afford the air fare—even on a low-cost airline. Instead, I took the train.

Yes, that’s right: I took a 19-hour overnight Amtrak train to New Orleans, riding in coach (i.e., without a sleeper bed). It was beautiful and exhausting, entertaining and uncomfortable all at once. There’s just too much to recount in fine narrative detail, so instead here are a few vignettes of especially interesting moments.
(more…)