Punk/Noise Panel 3B

Interrogating Contexts
The Boiler House
[all the presentations in this panel consist of performance to a certain extent]

Daniel Blumberg (Mute Records) & Elvin Brandhi (Akademie der bildende Künste, Vienna)
‘Bakh’

Peter J Woods (University of Wisconsin, Madison)
‘Fluxus Event For Academic Conferences’

  1. Submit this event score in lieu of a proposal or paper to an academic conference. The performance has begun.
  2. The performance ends if the proposal is rejected.
  3. If accepted, the performance continues. Submit this score in lieu of an abstract. If the score is too long, submit as much of the score as possible.
  4. During the allotted time for the presentation, start by introducing yourself, stating your name, every school you have ever attended, and the name of the presentation.
  5. Next, read through a randomly arranged assortment of pages from the following sources:
    1. Another paper submitted to the same conference
    2. Yourlatestpublication(ifoneexists)
    3. A book you wish you had written
    4. Your CV
    5. The acceptance letter to the conference
  6. Display a power point consisting of a title page with your name and the title of the presentation along with all of the blank slides included in that particular power point template. Change slides throughout the presentation.
  7. You may include other digital media tools (audio, video, etc.) in the presentation that reproduce text from the pages listed above (or readings thereof).
  8. Near the end of the allotted presentation time, abruptly stop reading and introduce yourself to every audience member individually.
  9. Give each audience member a business card.
  10. The performance ends after you have introduced yourself to every audience member.

Yol (Independent scholar, Hull)
‘REPEATED/FRACTURED/MEANING’

For this conference I am proposing a performance which will hopefully illustrate sonically my journey from structured punk music to free(er) noise improvisation. I was in a punk band for six years and for this piece I will take one of our songs, play about ten or fifteen seconds of it and then take specific sounds and words out of it to make a new sound work exploring and reworking elements of the original using the experimental vocal and sonic techniques I use in my practice now.

Part of my intention with this action is to illustrate and question how my relationship with words, vocal sounds and musical (or non musical) sounds and meaning, and the transmission of meaning, has changed over time – for example is a chorus, repeated again and again over six years, any more, or less, meaningful as a scream or other non verbal vocal sounds, made once in an improvised performance, for either performer or audience?

Depending on when this performance is presented, after a short time for recovery, it would be interesting to discuss with the audience their reaction to it in relation to the concept/framework of punk (whatever that is).

Phame* (Si Paton & ykxa s)
‘Throwing Shade (No, Fuck you)’

Composer-researchers Si Paton and yxka s. operate under the vehicle Phame, an improvised no wave punk collective exploring dismantling imperialistic structures whilst existing both inside and outside of institutional environments. This is achieved by developing a compositional practice that is built off the improvisational techniques applied by the likes of John Zorn, Jennifer Walshe and Matana Roberts with an aim of developing a shared musical language between different idioms.  The research has primarily been completed through the means of a performance practice.  This paper will be a performance piece which will an explore an updated version of their co-devised piece Throwing Shade (No Fuck You), a piece that exists in a state of flux as an uncompleted organism with an indeterminate structure, instrumentation or performers. Originally performed at Birmingham Conservatoire in June 2019 for eight players, this performance will explore the work in a duo setting and addresses overarching structures such as Western hegemonic compositional practices and the university institution as a whole.  The piece is written around musical gestures, performers faithfulness to the instructions in the score and both physical and instructional filters that affect how musicians can approach the act of performance.

* Simon Paton (Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Birmingham City University) & Jessica A Schwartz (UCLA)

Punk/Noise Panel 3A

Text & Context
Robert Boyle Lecture Theatre, Armstrong Building

Kevin Quinn (Central Saint Martins, UAL)
The New Musical Express: Reporting the Southall Riot (1981)’

In 1981, two years into ‘Thatcherism’, unemployment continued to rise, Cold war paranoia and the imminent threat of the bomb lingered, and there were several eruptions of ‘race’ and ‘class’ riots across England (Brixton, Toxteth and Southall).

The New Musical Express (NME), which had long perceived itself as ‘more than a music paper’, and which sold circa. 250,000 copies a week, tackled such issues in a way that acted as a riposte to the reportage of the daily press.

This presentation will examine the paper’s attitude to the S0uthall riot, which was sparked by a planned gig by ‘Oi’ bands (who tended to attract a skinhead audience) in an area of London with a large South Asian population.

What did its coverage say about its attitude to race? To the mainstream media? To less ‘hip’ musical forms such as ‘Oi’ and ‘street punk’? To its rivalry with Sounds, a music paper which championed ‘Oi’?

These questions point to larger ones about taste distinctions, political divides, and class prejudice. They also indicate how the serial nature of publications could be used as a debating tool (the NME interviewed one of the bands prior to events, but ran the piece afterwards).

 Drawing on the historical research of Matt Worley, and on close readings of NME articles, I will suggest a fresh viewpoint on what the NME’s ‘post-punk’ politics and criticism entailed.

Arin Keeble (Edinburgh Napier University)
‘Jawbreaker: Literary Punk and Authenticity’

“Boxcar,” perhaps the most well-known song from Jawbreaker’s 1994 LP, 24 Hour Revenge Therapy, simultaneously celebrates the aesthetics of the 90s Bay Area punk scene the band emerged in, while critiquing that scene’s limitations and subcultural “rules.” This critique comes partly through a reference to the ostensibly un-punk activity of “reading Kerouac,” in the song’s opening verse; an allusion which is juxtaposed with the conventional punk aesthetic of “Boxcar.” This juxtaposition is further complicated by the album’s centrepiece, “Condition Oakland,” which features a long sequence of audio clips of Jack Kerouac reading “October and the Railroad Earth.” This essay identifies an uneasy but productive relationship between punk philosophies and aesthetics and ideas of “the literary,” in this album and in other musical works by Jawbreaker’s singer and songwriter, Blake Schwarzenbach. I note the ways in which literary allusion both challenges scene politics and rigid subcultural rules while also commenting on literary pretension with equal force. I trace this tension in order to make a specific claim about Jawbreaker as well as a wider, but related claim about the potential synergies between punk and literary cultures. I argue that Jawbreaker’s literariness is an important but ignored factor in the infamous story of their “selling out,” amidst the fraught authenticity wars of the 1990s. More broadly – and cutting against this narrative of selling out – I argue that in certain moments, Jawbreaker and Schwarzenbach’s literary allusions illuminate the transgressive potential of literary punk in specific relation to neoliberal capital.

Pete Dale (Manchester Metropolitan University)
‘Indie Noise’ and Industry Incorporation: Fuzz and Feedback in the 1980s’

The Jesus and Mary Chain stick out a bit awkwardly in UK music history: were they an ‘indie’ band or did all that fuzz and feedback put them closer to the ‘industrial’ field? This paper argues that JAMC were a bit of both: although retaining melodies and distinct song structures, and thus not going as ‘far out’ as most industrial acts, the group were certainly perceived as being at least on the margins of the ‘noise’ side of post-punk music. That said, the management style of Alan McGee placed JAMC in a surprisingly successful (in industry terms) situation by the mid-1980s and the group would eventually become a Top of the Pops-friendly act around 1987 – but with the noisy edges shaved off.

Despite this trajectory, which many will suggest was simply a classic repetition of the incorporation process by which the music industry had neutralised perceived-to-be-dangerous punk and post-punk music for nearly a decade by the time JAMC put out its first single, JAMC did manage to inspire something of a ‘pop noise’ scene in the second half of the 1980s. Groups like Meat Whiplash and the early My Bloody Valentine failed to get much beyond the JAMC blueprint, but the version of MBV which emerged in 1988 inspired a wave of so-called ‘shoegazing’ groups which became a distinct field of indie-associated music in the 1990s. Shoegazing was also essentially incorporated into the industry, yet a key question remains: is there a noise music which can always escape incorporation?

Gary Charles (University of Birmingham)
‘Skillz 2.0: Anyone Can Play AI’

This move towards “democratisation” of music making has accelerated through the digital era. Cheaper instruments, free software, sample packs, Youtube tutorials – all enabling a DIY ethic less dependent on traditional Western conceptions of musical training and skill. Georgina Born highlights the paradox inherent in the commodification of music and its digital protocols being the same process that has encouraged and enabled the ‘flourishing of noncommodified and amateur musical practices’1. In drawing examples from Doom, Punk, Grime and Gqom my research illustrates these developments while zoning in on a particular contemporary area of this landscape – tools created under the guise of Artificial Intelligence. In particular, I work with software that seeks to digest past music (through neural networks) in order to generate constant streams of replicant musical data. The user is notionally liberated from the labour of composition, or rule abiding. Considered within the brief history of music technology, this hyper-democratisation has the potential to render notions of musical skill obsolete, while simultaneously entrenching the very protocols and conventions that underpin the space. Through my research, I encourage a practice of destructive rebellion, where these tools are misused, mistreated and repurposed in order to create new sonic backdrops to a foreground of texture and attitude based performance that itself is resistant to the algorithmic gaze. During my discussion I will present this research along with examples and noise from my own practice.

Punk/Noise Panel 2C

Punk Through Narrative & Identity
Room G.17, Armstrong Building

Jessica Blaise Ward (Leeds Beckett University)
Who remembers post-punk women?’

Who remembers post-punk? Its cultural and musical presence in the late 1970s and the early 1980s is often celebrated by many, despite the numerous hardships that British society faced. From industrial disputes and strikes to anti-Thatcherism and youth unemployment, it was a transitionary time in British history. How do we remember post-punk? Established since the 1940s, memory work and oral histories provide an opportunity for this, although they simultaneously raise a multitude of issues, not least from terminology. ‘Individual memory’ and ‘collective memory’ both allow for misrepresentations, although Sara Jones contends that the latter ‘requires actors, both individual and institutional, to construct, transmit, and support particular narratives of the past’. It is hence paramount to ask: who has been permitted to remember? When considering memory alongside gender identity and post-punk, one can observe some of the opportunities that it afforded women, and yet debate continues to contest their ‘empowerment’ and ‘increased’ representation in popular music. Historically much memory work has been conducted by women, whilst oral histories of punk and post-punk have predominantly been written by men. This presentation displays the memory and representation of women through semi-structured interviews, revealing anecdotal nostalgia of post-punk by members of what was termed Generation X (those born between 1955 and 1975).

Melodie Holliday – (Editor & Educational Development Shades of Noir)
‘“It was different” Navigating Punk While Black’

Art Trip And The Static Sound  -These guys and girl peddle a type of lo-fi punk that sounds right at home amid the detritus of London’s toilet circuit. ‘The Girl Who’ slinks in with a serpentine bass before getting cut to pieces by towering, scuzzy, chords, while singer Melodie Holliday delivers her witty vocals like a 21stcentury Johnny Rotten  ( NME, 2014) 

In recent years Melodie Holliday has begun to reflect on her journey in alternative movements such as punk in the UK. Born to immigrant, Jamaican parents from the Windrush era ever since the age of 15 years old when only wearing clothes that she had made herself or others had worn-in previously before her, seemed to be ( and still is) of the utmost importance she has been navigating alternative spaces. Adopting a Punk lifestyle after hearing Ari Up’ s voice singing “Typical Girls”.  So what is it like navigating punk and being a lead singer in a punk band while being Black and can anyone do it? When the stereotype is that Black people predominately like R and B what is it like to make sounds that are considered to be just noise by more conventional types? How does the use of critical race theory (Lourde, 1985) inform Melodie’s practice as a punk? Why does she feel that it is important to reflect on navigating punk while black?

Louise Barrière (University of Lorraine, France)
‘A “Very DIY Music” For Punk-Feminist People? Doing and listening to noise music in Ladyfest-inspired festivals’

My paper discusses the links between noise music and punk-feminist scenes, by looking at the Ladyfest network.
Ladyfest festivals generally aim to challenge gender roles within the punk scene. The network draws on a punk-feminist inspiration and specifically maintains several links with the Riot Grrrl movement that developed in the 1990s1. Yet, their musical scope has widely expanded through the years, and Ladyfests’ programs nowadays include punk as well as, for instance, electronic dance music, hip hop or, to a certain extent, noise music.

Drawing on my PhD research, I have analyzed the programs of more than 100 Ladyfest and Ladyfest-inspired festivals that took place in France and Germany since 2003, and studied the place of noise music in that network. During fieldwork sessions, I have attended noise concerts, and had informal talks with artists or organizers. In the first part of my presentation, drawing on the informations I have gathered, I will therefore explain why noise music occupies a place at the margins of the Ladyfest network.

Yet, I made the hypothesis that doing noise music could serve a feminist purpose. My guess was that the DIY dimension of noise music could be empowering for women and queer people who attend such festivals, because it would offer them the possibility to make music without much equipment nor musical knowledge. I thus have organized noise music workshops during various festivals over the year 2019. In the second part of my presentation, I will discuss my assumption by analyzing my experiences and multiple conversations I had with the participants.

Punk/Noise Panel 2B

Aggression/Abjection/Transgression 2
Room G.15, Armstrong Building

Benedict Quilter (Co-Founder Independent Woman Records, NZ) – ‘Oedipus Rex: On the Myth Of Transgression In Noise Music’

S & M, Rape, Paedophilia, “Nazi aesthetics” and Sexism are as common place in fashion as they are in noise music, so why is it that those involved in so called “transgressive” art think they are subverting expectations?

In a world of normalized right wing conspiracy theories being broadcast on international news cycles where is the subversion in appropriating the iconography of the right?

Since the birth of punk in the 70s through to the birth of Industrial the lack of critical depth involved in analyzing these “subcultures” has led to a groundswell of hack artists looking to the past, exhuming Genet and Artaud and proliferating second rate nihilism. Underground currents of the 60s and 70s sought to open up the parameters of sound and vision and question established modes of looking at the world.

Writing poetry about submission and sexual humiliation with your girlfriend it seems has become the noise music equivalent of advertising for a “third” sex partner on a dating site. This talk will look at the history of these tropes in noise/underground and look at why in 2019 power electronics/industrial culture has merely been reanimated with any semblance of “cultural critique” having died off long ago.

Adam Soper (Newcastle University)
‘Swastika Girls: The Use of Nazi Imagery in Popular (Oc)culture and the Neo-folk’

This paper seeks to examine the uses of Nazi imagery in popular culture, focusing specifically on the Neo-folk movement. Neo-folk was born out of the British punk and industrial music scenes of the 1980s made up of bands such as Throbbing Gristle, Coil, and Crisis. Artists associated with the movement such as Death In June, Boyd Rice, and Current 93 have all included Nazi imagery into their work, leaving open a question if there is a systemic neo-Nazi presence in the neo-folk genre.

Extending from Jon Stratton’s account of the relationship between Jews and the holocaust within punk and glam music, this study seeks to give potential readings of the use of Nazi imagery in Neo-folk. It will explore beyond the, perhaps, simplistic reading that Nazi imagery is used for ‘shock value’ or that the work is produced by Nazi sympathisers. And, if work is produced by Nazi-sympathisers, (a question difficult to answer, concerning some groups, such as Death in June) what can the political left do to reinterpret the art and imagery to understand it through a lens of cultural trauma and coming to terms with the Holocaust? Taking into account the Swastikas multiple meanings throughout history (a good luck symbol in Ancient Rome, a peace sign in Hinduism), this paper asks is there a limit to the hijacking and repurposing of symbols by the left? If so, is the swastika that limit?

James Anderson (University of Sunderland)
‘Punk, Porn, and Politics: Pornographic Profanity in British First-Wave Punk’

This paper examines first-wave British punk’s articulations of an aesthetic language of ‘noise’ in the profane. In doing so, the paper considers the utilisation of pornographic imagery as an attempt at rupture, through at attack on ‘sacred’ conservative Middle-England values in the late-1970s. As has been well-documented, the clothing designed by Vivien Westwood and Malcolm McLaren and sold at their SEX boutique, and the later Seditionaries, were explicitly concerned pornographic images and fetish-wear including latex and bondage materials, constitutive of a ‘radical’ statement in the context of youth cultural fashions and against the norms of the period. Whilst Westwood and McLaren Whilst designs such as ‘naked cowboys’ T-shirt have been understood as an attempt to ‘shock’ indicative of punk’s attempts at provocation, their interests in fetish-ware assert a more complex relationship with icons of the sacred, as seen in their BDSM imagery, and the themes of punishment and redemption in early punk. Further, a parallel engagement with the ‘noise’ of the pornographic body is considered in the pornographic forays of Cosey Fanni Tutti, and her various art actions with Hull art collective COUM Transmissions. I discuss the culmination of Tutti’s ‘porn-as-art’ project with the notorious 1976 Prostitution show at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, which sparked outrage in conservative British circles; leading to the group being branded the ‘wreckers of civilisation’ in the Houses of Parliament. Through the comparison of these case studies, I proffer that whereas sexual imagery was invoked as a profane statement within Westwood-McLaren designs to ‘index a general social taboo’ (Court 2018), the work of these Tutti and COUM blurred the boundaries between pornography and art—mediating upon the sacred nature of the female body—using provocation to highlight patriarchal structures and deconstruct consumerist representations of women in British society of the late-1970s.

Punk/Noise Panel 2A

Scenes & Localities
Room G.11, Armstrong Building

Grainne Milner-McLoone (Newcastle University)
‘Punk/Noise and Aggression in Northern Ireland’

The Punk phenomenon of the 1970s hit Northern Ireland in a unique way, introducing a wave of aggression that helped to release the tensions of the sectarian conflict,  ‘the troubles’, at that time. The punk scene prompted many home formed bands to write and play music addressing the violence and created a non-sectarian common ground amongst teenagers, as a rebellion against the sectarian beliefs of their immediate predecessors. Punk in NI also instigated a rejection of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (police) in both the nationalist/republican/Catholic and the loyalist/unionist/Protestant communities, bringing the younger generation together.

Examining the anti-establishment ideologies so prominent during the troubles, this paper will look at punk and aggression in Northern Ireland today. Following the instability caused by Brexit and its impact on the many new and upcoming punk bands in Ireland, this paper will specifically explore the music of punk/noise bands Woodburning Savages and Touts from Derry. Derry city is on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and so, post-Brexit, could also be on the border between the UK and EU. The anxieties caused by this are expressed through a number of tracks from both bands. The idea of ‘anyone can do it’ is explored through aggression felt by young people, and how this can be transferred into music, drawing parallels between punk bands of the ‘70s, such as Stiff Little Fingers and the Undertones, and Irish punk music today.

Stewart Smith (Music Journalist & Independent Scholar)
‘Beyond The Valley of Ultrahits: Some Observations of the Glasgow Underground’

Karina Barbosa (Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Brazil)
‘“I Am Proud To Be How I Am”: Gender and Sexuality Statements in Brazilian Punk Feminist Music Scene’

For decades and more specifically ever since the rise of the Riot Grrrl movement in Olympia, Washington in the 1990’s, the punk scene has provided an important stage to amplify women’s voices. This paper uses the concept of music scenes by William Straw (1991) to elucidate how Brazilian feminist punk scene has been a relevant environment for gender and sexuality expression. It encloses the concepts of local, translocal and virtual scenes by Bennett and Peterson (2004) in order to introduce a retrospective of post-colonial studies referring to the act of producing music with political activist content in a developing country such as Brazil, in contrast to the so called Western world. At this point, it includes Georgina Born and David Hesmondhalgh (2000) writings on the matter of postcolonialism in music studies. Following this discussion, it leads to the history of feminist movements that favour the protagonism of women in music – from the Riot Grrrl example in the United States, until the feminist music scenes in Sao Paulo. It explores the idea that different music scenes around the world develop similar statements despite of local differences, using the concept of ​lebenswelt ​(SCHÜTZ and LUCKMANN, 1974). In the end, it features an interview with Sapataria, a hardcore/punk band based in São Paulo composed only by women who are openly lesbians. Their example is used to exemplify attitudes of contravention that exist in the feminist punk music scene under the government of the openly misogynistic and homophobic president Bolsonaro.

Punk/Noise Panel 1C

Panel 1C: Aggression/Abjection/Transgression 1

Room G.17, Armstrong Building

Céline Murillo (University of Paris 13 (Sorbonne Paris Cité)
‘From Aggression to Transgression: No Wave Films and Their music’

Punk films made in New York in the late 70s are generally labelled “No Wave” films, a term derived from a second wave of American Punk music. When No Wave music is the sound track of No Wave films, what happens? The visual aesthetic can be seen as raw, while the sound can be aggressive, its melody swathed in noise. Does the sensorial aggression translate into a transgression of the norms of film style, does it go even further by transgressing social norms?

We will go from a study of the correspondence between the aesthetic of No Wave in film and music first, and then rely on examples to find out where aggression becomes transgression.

Laura Way (Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln)
‘Why punk? Exploring women’s initial exposure/attraction to punk and how this is negotiated alongside gendered ageing’

What might draw young women to punk? And how are such things negotiated (or not) over time as they age? Drawing upon qualitative interviewing with ageing punk women, this paper takes these two questions as its focus. Academically, punk has been repeatedly conceptualised as a subculture/scene underpinned by a particular set of values (see, for example, Bennett 2006, Clark 2003). The sense of ‘anyone can do it’ can be understood as part of that. In this paper I will be considering to what extent such values played a role in the initial attraction to punk experienced by the women I spoke with, and, where present, how these are maintained or adapted to allow punk identification to continue over time. Alongside this I will be discussing music, which played a key role in all of the participants’ initial exposure to punk, and their changing relationship with this. By applying a feminist lens throughout, my analysis will tease out the ways gender (Walby 1989) and gendered ageing (Gullette 2015, Twigg 2004) might present challenges for punk women with regards to both constructing and maintaining punk identities.

Renée Steffen (University of Basel)
‘Abjection in Queer Film and Video’

In my paper, I will show how the idea of “abjection” has been fundamental for queer representations in film and video of the early 1990s as also for the emergence of queer theory at the time. Abjection was understood then primarily as a tool to explore sexist, racist or homophobic distortions. It thus has been connected to emancipatory goals within academic fields as well as within artistic and curatorial strategies.

I will address artistic strategies I will summarize as “self-abjection”, a way of appropriating and re-telling conditions of social abjection through art (e.g., film and video) and activism that is influenced by personal and subjective experiences within a specific political framework. This intersection might have started in the 1980s, primarily within HIV/AIDS activism; but it was also influenced by the punk movement.

Many queer filmmakers are using “self-abjection”, I will argue, primarily via “primitive” low and no-budget (auto-)ethnographic methods in experimentation and storytelling (such as Sadie Benning, Suzie Silver, Jennifer Montgomery, Azian Nurudin, Shu Ka Chung and many others). As all of the works I will be discussing have been shown at influential art shows at the time, between 1991 and 1993 at the Whitney Museum of Modern Art in New York, I will engage with the problem of how (or even if at all) institutions like the Whitney can participate in political activism and support subversive causes of sub- and counter-cultural movements and their perspectives.

Punk/Noise Panel 1B

Scenes, Settings, Systems
Room G.15, Armstrong Building

Ellen Bernhard (Chestnut Hill College, Philadelphia)
‘Crowdfunding a Scene: GoFundMe, Norms of Reciprocity and Social (Media) Capital in Contemporary Punk Rock Communities’

In the age of social media, DIY practice transgresses physical spaces into digital realms—bands can share news of shows, new merchandise, music, and tour updates through a variety of social media platforms to fans across the world, using their own creative efforts and connections within the community to disseminate this information. While contemporary punk continues to engage in DIY practice through the creation of this content, a recent practice has prevailed, allowing bands to generate money from their fans and the community at large in times of need. GoFundMe, a crowdfunding website which lets users donate money to causes of their choosing, has frequently prevailed as an avenue by which bands can reach out for donations from fans when things go awry. Within recent years, the practice has been used by bands to fund a variety of efforts, which include acquiring funds for a new tour van or stolen gear, paying off a band member’s medical bills or hospitalization costs, or funding a community-focused effort such as organizing a festival or saving a well-loved music venue.

Through an investigation of recent examples of GoFundMe use and the corresponding social media activity within the contemporary punk community, this paper will investigate the norms of reciprocity and social capital that enable and normalize this common practice in punk communities today. Furthermore, this paper will argue that GoFundMe use is an extension of DIY practice, which is facilitated by the pervasiveness of frequent social media use within the scene as a whole.

Theo Gowans (Leeds University)
‘How Disruption Within Noise Performances Creates a Unique Capacity for Nonhierarchal Socialising’

This paper is a study into the capacity for unique socialising within DIY noise practice, and whether it can act as a subversive critique of neoliberal norms of individualism and self-branding. Free improvisation/noise performances, uniquely as an aesthetic practice, are both unpredictable both as an aesthetic and in execution, as it’s produced in real time. The immateriality of the music and the scale and context of the practice allows for error, intervention and sabotage without Mistakes or bad music .

I hope to explore the ways in which we can sabotage music as both audience members and performers (constriction, audience use of objects, antagonising) and how this allows for a unique space for socialising within nonhierarchal context. The audience and performer boundry is removed where all and equally inept and an equal part of the occurance. I will argue that noise can and should be an exciting area for play between those within the space and a critique of capital and the individualism position within the arts. I will argue that a continuation of this anti-captialist approach and the values of the Fluxus movements, while not the only way to achieve political critique within noise, is a worthwhile one to aim for.

Adam Denton (Newcastle University)
‘Locating the Scene(s): Where Shall We Put It?’

In considering noise as a pluralised culture, consisting numerous complex histories and intersections, this paper seeks to address questions surrounding the where of noise in the context of urban centres.

The aim is to identify nexus points where rave energies, rough musics and noise cultures have converged or could converge, in the pursuit of antagonising contemporary neoliberal property speculation and the late-capitalist enclosure of the city.

This presentation will highlight the multi-locality of a noise scene, one I consider myself part of and one that is networked through its international collaborating actors and shared/conflicting ethoses.

In a time where freedom of movement and assembly is increasingly threatened (for some more than others) I will examine how or if a global psychical environment of socially diverse participation and exchange is, or could be, nurtured and hosted, towards what Patricia Reed has identified as a ‘mobilising of the alienated’.

What kinds of spaces can be made available for the uniting of intersecting micro-scenes? And what still needs to be done to get things done?

Examining power dynamics in built and soon to be built environments, where cultures of disappearance or fleeting visibilities may or may not converge, I will ask; are the places where noise happens important? Should they be preserved? If so, how; and who’s going to do the preserving?

This presentation will be delivered as a PowerPoint Electronics set.

Punk/Noise Panel 1A

Punk, Noise & Geopolitics
Room G.11, Armstrong Building

Michael Hepworth (Sunderland University)
‘Punk, noise and transgression: Anarchy in the UK? Adult migrants make some noise!’

Adult migrants to the UK are a relatively powerless group within society. They are often spoken about but seldom given the opportunity to speak for themselves and as a consequence lack audibility (Block, 2007). Worse, they are sometimes positioned as a threat in mainstream political and media discourse (Gabrielatos and Baker, 2008). All this is compounded by neo-liberal approaches to pedagogy which position them passively as semi-skilled or unskilled workers or as consumers of services (Giroux, 2011).

In this presentation, I conceptualise language as a form of noise. I adopt an ethnographic approach, drawing upon both interviews with adult migrants and their teachers and observation data from language learning classrooms. I aim to show how, despite their lack of audibility, and given the opportunity, adult migrants can and do position themselves more powerfully.

Moreover, I focus on how teachers can help them to do this, and so to make more noise, transgressing existing boundaries both in the classroom and in wider society. In doing this, I draw upon participatory pedagogies informed by the work of Paolo Freire (1970).

Finally, I link this increased audibility to the concept of democratic citizenship and show how, through performing ‘acts of citizenship’ (Isin, 2008), language teachers and their students can participate more fully and inclusively in the creation of their own educational and political futures.

John Parham (University of Worcester)
‘Extinction’s Noisy Rebellion: A Punk Anthropocene?’

We’ve entered a new geological epoch marked by humans’ indelible alteration of the Earth: its rock strata, atmosphere, ecosystems. The ‘Anthropocene’ exists now, yet critics, scholars and practitioners have struggled to formulate appropriate aesthetic models. Conventional cultural forms seem too linear and simplistic against the epoch’s ontological, ethical, and political complexities. So, for example, Adeline Johns-Putra has proposed silence (common across environmental art, film, computer games, literature, etc) as both an antidote to the anthropocentric power connoted by realist narratives and as implying ‘an alternative, ecocentric reality’. Yet, invoking the unfathomable geological time which the Anthropocene pulls us back into, silence can also paralyse.

Thrashing about between narrative and nihilism, Anthropocene aesthetics parallels the disjunction between first wave (shocking, but nihilistic) and second wave punk (communicative, but conservative). Here, I’ll consider not silence but noise: how might the disruption and disturbance of noisy punk help us confront and act upon the Anthropocene? Listening to The Ruts’ ‘Babylon’s Burning’ and Siouxsie and the Banshees’ ‘Spellbound’, I’ll deploy Greil Marcus’ concept of negation – by exposing that ‘the world is not as it seems’, noise triggers responses to complex social, political, economic, and now geological forces that it’s otherwise hard to comprehend. In the ‘banal’ Anthropocene’ (Heather Anne Swanson) – where the agents of ecological damage are in everyday life: houses, offices, transport, food, the consumer items re-appropriated by punk – we need noise to shake us out of our complacency; we need to feel our ‘anxiety’.

Lyndon Way (University of Liverpool)
‘Punks’ political opposition in Turkey: Noise against authoritarianism’

‘A noise is a resonance that interferes with the audition of a message in the process of emission’ (Attali 1985: 26). This definition not only refers to unwanted sonic sound, but also unwanted political sound. In Turkey, some Turkish hardcore punk bands produce ‘noise’ in terms of unwanted sound – that being loud and angry. Some also produce political noise – producing subversive anti-authoritative music the government would rather not have available.

In this presentation, I consider how punks create noise to express anger at the Turkish government. I examine how bands ‘borrow’ hardcore punk sounds from the West in a “complex pattern of cross-fertilisation and cultural hybridity” (Shepherd 2003) whilst singing in Turkish to a Turkish audience about very Turkish issues. My presentation is sourced from interviews with members and fans from two hardcore bands. I also perform a multimodal critical discourse analysis of one of their videos and a live performance, examining lyrics, sounds and visuals. This research reveals how bands use Western resources to express subversion or ‘noise’ towards the government and its hegemonic views about how to live in Turkey. By creating noise with a punk DIY approach, noisy punk thrives in a place which is inhospitable to most things alternative, different and not easily controlled.

Full Conference Programme

MONDAY 16th December

9.00 – Registration/Reception

9.30 – WELCOME & KEYNOTE ONE: Paul Hegarty [The Boiler House]

[tea/coffee]

SESSION ONE: 11-12.30

Panel 1A: Punk, Noise & Geopolitics

Room G.11, Armstrong Building

Michael Hepworth (Sunderland University) – ‘Punk, noise and transgression: Anarchy in the UK? Adult migrants make some noise!’

John Parham (University of Worcester) – ‘Extinction’s Noisy Rebellion: A Punk Anthropocene?’

Lyndon Way (University of Liverpool) – ‘Punks’ political opposition in Turkey: Noise against authoritarianism’

CHAIR: Paul Hollins

Panel 1B: Scenes, Settings, Systems

Room G.15, Armstrong Building

Ellen Bernhard (Chestnut Hill College, Philadelphia) – ‘Crowdfunding a Scene: GoFundMe, Norms of Reciprocity and Social (Media) Capital in Contemporary Punk Rock Communities’

Theo Gowans (Leeds University) – ‘How Disruption Within Noise Performances Creates a Unique Capacity for Nonhierarchal Socialising’

Adam Denton (Newcastle University) – ‘Locating the Scene(s): Where Shall We Put It?’

CHAIR: Stewart Smith

Panel 1C: Aggression/Abjection/Transgression 1

Room G.17, Armstrong Building

Céline Murillo (University of Paris 13 (Sorbonne Paris Cité)) – ‘From Aggression to Transgression: No Wave Films and Their music’

Laura Way (Bishop Grosseteste UniversityLincoln) – ‘Why punk? Exploring women’s initial exposure/attraction to punk and how this is negotiated alongside gendered ageing’

Renée Steffen (University of Basel) – ‘Abjection in Queer Film and Video’

CHAIR: Marie Thompson

[lunch]

SESSION TWO: 13.30-5.00

Panel 2A: Scenes & Localities

Room G.11, Armstrong Building

Grainne Milner-McLoone (Newcastle University) – ‘Punk/Noise and Aggression in Northern Ireland’

Stewart Smith (Music Journalist & Independent Scholar) – ‘Beyond The Valley of Ultrahits: Some Observations of the Glasgow Underground’

Karina Barbosa (Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Brazil) – ‘“I Am Proud To Be How I Am”: Gender and Sexuality Statements in Brazilian Punk Feminist Music Scene’

CHAIR: Matt Grimes

Panel 2B: Aggression/Abjection/Transgression 2

Room G.15, Armstrong Building

Benedict Quilter (Co-Founder Independent Woman Records, NZ) – ‘Oedipus Rex: On the Myth Of Transgression In Noise Music’

Adam Soper (Newcastle University) – ‘Swastika Girls: The Use of Nazi Imagery in Popular (Oc)culture and the Neo-folk’

James Anderson (University of Sunderland) – ‘Punk, Porn, and Politics: Pornographic Profanity in British First-Wave Punk’

CHAIR: Lyndon Way

Panel 2C: Punk Through Narrative & Identity

Room G.17, Armstrong Building

Jessica Blaise Ward (Leeds Beckett University) – ‘Who remembers post-punk women?’

Melodie Holliday (Editor & Educational Development Shades of Noir) – ‘“It was different” Navigating Punk While Black’

Louise Barrière (University of Lorraine, France) – ‘A “Very DIY Music” For Punk-Feminist People? Doing and listening to noise music in Ladyfest-inspired festivals’

CHAIR: Jessica Schwartz

[tea/coffee]

SESSION THREE: 15.30-17.30

Panel 3A: Text & Context

Robert Boyle Lecture Theatre, Armstrong Building

Kevin Quinn (Central Saint Martins, UAL) – ‘The New Musical Express: Reporting the Southall Riot (1981)’

Arin Keeble (Edinburgh Napier University) – ‘Jawbreaker: Literary Punk and Authenticity’

Pete Dale (Manchester Metropolitan University) – ‘Indie Noise’ and Industry Incorporation: Fuzz and Feedback in the 1980s’

Gary Charles (University of Birmingham) – ‘Skillz 2.0: Anyone Can Play AI’

CHAIR: Craig Pollard

Panel 3B: Interrogating Contexts

The Boiler House

Daniel Blumberg (Mute Records) & Elvin Brandhi (Akademie de bildende Künste, Vienna) – Bakh

Peter J Woods (University of Wisconsin, Madison) – ‘Fluxus Event For Academic Conferences’

Yol (Independent scholar, Hull) – ‘REPEATED/FRACTURED/MEANING’

Phame* (Si Paton & ykxa s) – ‘Throwing Shade (No, Fuck you)’

* Simon Paton (Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Birmingham City University) & Jessica A Schwartz (UCLA)

CHAIR: Russ Bestley

EVENING SHOW 19.00-22.00 [TOPH @ Alphabetti Theatre]

Guttersnipe, BLØM, Elvin Brandhi + Plastiglomerate X Territorial Gobbing

TUESDAY 17th December

9.30 KEYNOTE TWO: Marie Thompson [The Boiler House]

[tea/coffee]

SESSION FOUR: 10.30-12.00

Panel 4A: HarshNoiseWall & Its Discontents

The Boiler House

Lexi Turner (Cornell University, Ithaca, NY) – ‘Ballet Shoes, Butchers Knives and Black Leather Gloves: Narrative of the Body in Harsh Noise Wall’

Peter J. Woods (University of Wisconsin, Madison) – ‘Defining Noise-As-Gesture: Mapping the Politics of Abjected Sound Through Con-Dom and Moor Mother’

Michael Blenkarn (Newcastle University) – ‘Anxiety Silenced: Harsh Noise Wall as a Means of Attenuating the Experience of Anxiety’

CHAIR: Gretchen Aury

Panel 4B: Anti-Professionalism

Robert Boyle Lecture Theatre, Armstrong Building

Ian Trowell (Independent scholar based in the Fens) – ‘Where the system starts: Throbbing Gristle vs Architectural Association’

Chris Bailey (Plymouth College of Art) – ‘Imperfect Orchestra – A Battle Between Performance and Ethos’

David Howcroft (No Audience Underground Tapes) – ‘The Manifesto’

CHAIR: Charlie Bramley

[lunch]

SESSION FIVE: 13.00-14.30

Panel 5A: US Hardcore, Punk & Dissemination

The Boiler House

Daniel Makagon (DePaul University, Chicago) – ‘Punk’s Decisive Moments: Seeing the Scene through Photozines’

Jessica Schwartz (University of California, Los Angeles) – ‘Los Angeles Punk Through Noise & Nausea’

Craig Pollard (Newcastle University) – ‘Exposing (and exploding) contradictions: particular trajectories of US hardcore’

CHAIR: Pete Dale

Panel 5B: Metal Machine Music vs. the Harsh Noise Wall

Robert Boyle Lecture Theatre, Armstrong Building

Marko Djurdjic (York University, Toronto) –  ‘“My week beats your year”: On Listening to Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music

Elvin Brandhi (Akademie de bildende Künste, Vienna) – ‘Punk Conference’

Paul Hollins (University of Bolton & Leeds College of Music), Sean Albiez (Author and Independent Scholar) & Anthony Roocroft (University of Bolton) – ‘The Best Worst Noise Ever Made? (A Non Discursive, Discursive Experimental Performance Piece)’

CHAIR: Arin Keeble

[tea/coffee]

SESSION SIX: 15.00-16.00

Panel 6A: Curation & Disruption

The Boiler House

Francis Stewart (Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln) – ‘Sounds of the (marginalised punk) underground: the use of noise in punk curation and narration’

Russ Bestley (London College of Communication, UAL) – ‘Visual Noise: Punk Graphic Design and Visual Disruption’

CHAIR: Ellen Bernhard

Panel 6B: Mythologies’ Interwoven Extremities

Robert Boyle Lecture Theatre, Armstrong Building

Clive Henry (Independent scholar, Southampton) – ‘Modern HNW is Rubbish’

Tom Cardwell (Wimbledon College of Arts, UAL) & Mark Gubb (University of Worcester) – ‘“Hiraeth” – a collaborative project’

CHAIR: Will Edmondes

16.00 KEYNOTE THREE: Sezgin Boynik [The Boiler House]

17.00 [CLOSE]

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