CFP: Travels in Hyperreality: medievalism and postmodern musical cultures


Oxford Brookes University, 16th-17th July 2020.

It has been 37 years since Umberto Eco wrote Travels in Hyperreality. Gazing at the ‘postmodern neomedieval Manhattan new castle’ of Trump Tower, he found ‘a new feudalism’ in a ‘New Middle Ages’. Now that Trump is sovereign, Eco’s playful comparisons between saints and pop stars overspill their boundaries grotesquely. But why is the pop star so sainted? And if ‘the relationship between illuminated manuscript and cathedral is the same as that between MOMA and Hollywood’, does the tower loom as large as the soundbite?

For its sixth annual conference, the REMOSS (Representations of Early Music on Stage and Screen) study group invites proposals on the theme of ‘Travels in Hyperreality’, with a particular emphasis on the relationship between pre- and postmodern musical cultures. We aim to acknowledge medievalism’s pervasiveness in postmodern society and ask what worldviews we share with premodernity—what relationships with ambiguity, truth, reality, and excess—and how they manifest themselves in the world of sound.

Keynote lectures will be given by Lindsay Steenberg and Bruce Holsinger.

Contributions could cover (and are not limited to):

(neo)medievalism's political motivations

video game music and soundscape

contemporary opera and musical theatre

hyperreality in film and television music

medievalism, racism, and violence on stage and screen

historically informed performance, reconstruction, and roleplay

medievalist influences in compositional practice

the influence of medieval conceptions of gender, sexuality, body, sound, and music

pre-/postmodern ideas of reality

Our conception of ‘early music’ is a broad one, including the use, or re-use, of ‘real’ early music in contexts new and old. As ever, the conference will be live-streamed, and we welcome both speakers and delegates to attend digitally. All proposals and contributions will be considered.

Proposals for papers, workshops, demonstrations, lecture-recitals, and panels should be submitted by Thursday 30 April. Please send a proposal of c.200 words including the session/paper format, the names and affiliations of any speakers, and contact details for the proposer to REMOSS2020@gmail.com . If you have any questions about the conference, feel free to contact any of the organisers.

Sign-up for our jiscmail newsletter at: REMOSS@JISCMAIL.AC.UK

James Cook (University of Edinburgh)

George Haggett (University of Oxford)

Alexander Kolassa (Open University)

Leander Reeves (Oxford Brookes University)

Adam Whittaker (Birmingham Conservatoire)

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