30-31st October 2015: The University of Aberdeen and the SOUND festival, Aberdeen, Scotland.
Theodor Adorno noted the difficulty of creating new art that can be beautiful in a truthful way, eschewing any response to musical modernity that would allow its easy assimilation in terms of the traditionally beautiful. For Jean-François Lyotard, the arts for the last century have no longer been concerned primarily with the beautiful but rather with a renewed concept of the sublime. This dissociation of the beautiful from the modern in Adorno and Lyotard contrasts strikingly with Helmut Lachenmann’s revalorisation of the beautiful and his distinction of ‘humanity’s legitimate and profoundly rooted demand for art as the experience of Beauty, and its false satisfaction and alienation in the form of art “fodder” manufactured by the bourgeoisie and preserved in a society of repressed contradictions’ (Lachenmann 1980, 20). Out of this polarity of the modern as the moment of the sublime (Lyotard) and the possibility of a ‘rescued’ concept of the beautiful (Lachenmann), participants are invited to offer twenty minute papers on any aspect of musical modernity in relation to the beautiful and/or the sublime. The sublime has become a rich source of reflection in critical theory, with alternative conceptualisations from Lyotard, Derrida, Lacan, Zizek, Marion and others, and following Simon Morley’s categorisation, the contemporary sublime has been related to the unpresentable, transcendence, nature, technology, terror, the uncanny and altered states. While the sublime has not enjoyed attention in music studies comparable with what it has stimulated elsewhere in the humanities, this conference will provide a forum for musicological, theoretical and philosophical reflection in conjunction with a series of musical performances.
Proposals considering any of the following are welcomed:
• Musicological papers considering any aspect of contemporary music in relation to the sublime and/or the beautiful.
• Philosophical/Critical theory papers developing thinking on the beautiful and/or the sublime in relation to music.
• Papers considering musical modernity, politics and the sublime.
• Papers considering the extent to which music concerns the sublime or a reconstituted notion of beauty.
Abstracts should be c. 400 words and should also contain first and last name of presenter, title of proposed presentation, institutional affiliation, mailing address, telephone number and email address.
Proposals must be received no later than 20th April 2015 and should be posted email@example.com.
Confirmed performers include: Ensemble Alternance (Paris, France) and Ian Pace (piano)