Welcome to The International Association for the Study of Popular Music UK and Ireland Branch

Retrofuturism 2.0 Symposium

Posted: May 24th, 2023 | Filed under: Calls for Papers | No Comments »

The post-pandemic internet has seen a boom of micro-genres on platforms such as Tumblr and TikTok. Music, text, and images are combined to create audiovisual imaginaries with a look towards particular (pop)cultural niches at once nostalgic and utopian. Subcultures emerging during the 2010s have been joined by trends such as cottagecore and dark academia.

Following last year’s symposium on musical retrofuturism (https://musicalretrofuturism.wordpress.com), this online symposium widens our focus to encompass contemporary ‘nostalgiacore’ in music and audiovisual media. We use this term to refer to an aesthetic emerging from the archival, escapist, and remediating capacities of the internet. We are interested not only in memory, but also the intersections of media and imagination—the ways in which nostalgia and desire can be cultivated for an era that was not experienced directly.

How and why were these nostalgic reverberations triggered around the globe? What do these aesthetics signify and/or achieve in a world of socio-political and ecological crisis? What is the relationship between nostalgia and utopianism? What impact has the pandemic had on the experience of time? In what ways do these aesthetics spill out beyond the digital? And what might all this have to do with what Shoshana Zuboff has called ‘surveillance capitalism’?

We are interested in papers relating, but not exclusive, to:

  • Genres (and genre theory) encompassing:
  • Vaporwave / eccojams / mallsoft
  • Synthwave / chillwave / outrun
  • Hauntology / hypnagogic pop
  • Cyberpunk / steampunk / salvagepunk
  • Dark academia / cottagecore
  • Afrofuturism
  • Chiptune
  • The politics and poetics of nostalgia
  • Internet utopianism
  • Cultural pessimism and melancholia
  • Kitsch and the uncanny
  • Obsolete and residual media
  • Ruins and abandoned places
  • Youth, age, and memory
  • Online subculture

We welcome proposals for individual papers (20 minutes, with 10 minutes for questions after each paper) from a variety of disciplines. Please submit an abstract (c. 200 words) to musicalretrofuturism [at] gmail.com by 16 June 2023. We aim to communicate the programme decisions by 30 June 2023. If you require more information, please email the organisers Michiel Kamp (m.kamp1 [at] uu.nl) and Ross Cole (r.cole [at] leeds.ac.uk).

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