Wednesday, 15 April 2009

CFP: Kiss Me Again: Mapping the Life and Legacy of Arthur Russell (NYU)

10 OCTOBER 2009

The composer and musician Arthur Russell lived and worked in New York between 1973 and 1992. During his time in the city he performed and recorded compositional music, pop music, disco, new wave, songs for the cello, and hip-hop-inflected electronic pop. As any listener of his music will know, he also liked to blur the boundaries of genre as he went about his work. Russell's open-mindedness and antipathy to being marketed contributed to his lack of recognition, and his music went relatively unheard outside of aficionado dance circles after his passing. But beginning with the simultaneous release of Calling Out of Context and The World of Arthur Russell in 2004, and culminating with the release of the documentary film Wild Combination in 2008, Russell's work has gained a new lease of life.

Acknowledging the newfound interest in Arthur Russell, New York University, the Centre for Cultural Studies Research at University of East London and Bloomfield College are organising an Arthur Russell conference that will take place at NYU on 10 October. The all-day event will be organised around four panels, two featuring invited speakers, two featuring speakers who respond to this call for papers. The conference will also feature a screening of Wild Combination, with director Matt Wolf answering questions, and (it is hoped) rare Arthur Russell footage shot by Phill Niblock and Alan Abrams. The evening event will feature musicians who worked with Arthur Russell. Tim Lawrence's biography of Arthur Russell, Hold On to Your Dreams, will be launched during the event. Attendance is free.

Suitable themes for papers include but are by no means restricted to Arthur Russell and his collaborators; Arthur Russell and the downtown scene; Arthur Russell and composition; Arthur Russell and genre; Arthur Russell, sexuality, race and sound; Arthur Russell and performance; and Arthur Russell and the contemporary music market. Papers might also consider specific recordings, including "Kiss Me Again" by Dinosaur, Arthur Russell's first record release, which came out on Sire Records in 1978. Papers should last for 20 minutes.

Abstracts of 250 words should be submitted to one of the organisers by 15 July. Decisions will be circulated by 31 July.

Sukhdev Sandhu (NYU): ss162 at
Tim Lawrence (UEL): tlawrence1 at
Peter Gordon (Bloomfield): petergordonmusic at

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