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Invisible Republic: Music, Lettrism, Avant-Gardes

International Conference on Music, Avant-Gardes and Counterculture

25-27 octobre 2017, Lisbonne

CFP deadline: May 25
https://invisiblerepublic.info/
University of Lisbon, School of Arts and Humanities and Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT)

In Invisible Republic: Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes (1997), Greil Marcus charts a countercultural sound map, a kind of laboratory where a new language is being forged. This is where, Marcus argues, we can locate the true voice of the century, a new consciousness, the alchemy of an undiscovered country. From this starting-point, we propose a journey into the tangled relationship between music, the avant-gardes and counterculture.

In 1942, Isidore Isou, a Jew from Romania, created in Bucharest an artistic and cultural trend that claimed for a “new republic” of letters. He brought it to Paris in 1945, and this became “Lettrism”, one of the most inventive but also one of the most unknown movements of the post-war avant-gardes. In 1947, he published a manifesto, an introduction to a new poetry and a new music that set forth Lettrism as a general movement of creation, a poetry liberated from words and syntax, and a number of propositions that constitute a fundamental historical link between the modern and the contemporary.
Lettrism, it has been argued, was the progenitor of future upheavals and revolts, such as May ‘68, Punk, Situationism, Fluxus, among others. Music and sound, in this context, are powerful instruments of destruction and/or reconfiguration of language and the Arts. The connection between writing and auditory experience becomes the experience itself – back to Dylan: the lab of the basement tapes.

The present conference aims at exploring and bringing to the fore the “invisible republics” of culture, the ephemeral, the suppressed, the unconformity of artistic and political undercurrents. Above all, it asks how these separate geographical territories speak to each other, and how this might reshape our historical understanding of European and American modernity.

 

 

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