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CO.LABORATIONS | Partnerships in Media and Culture


28 March 2019
Janskerkhof 13 - Stijlkamer (0.06)

Judith Peraino – Utrecht Colloquia in the Musicologies 2018-19

Utrecht Colloquia in the Musicologies 2018-19

I’ll Be Your Mixtape: Lou Reed, Andy Warhol, and the Queer Intimacies of Cassettes

Judith Peraino (Cornell University)

This presentation tells the story of a cassette tape housed in the Andy Warhol Museum Archive, a set of never-released (and rarely heard) songs by Lou Reed, and the tape’s intended audience: Andy Warhol. Warhol and Reed are giant figures in the history of twentieth-century Pop Art and popular music, and their collaboration in 1966-1967 resulted in the acclaimed album The Velvet Underground and Nico. Reed and Warhol continued to look to each other throughout the 1970s as sources for ideas, as the contents of this tape reveals. On one level, the presentation concerns an artefact of celebrity: based on extensive archival research and interviews, I discuss how this tape reflects Warhol’s and Reed’s failed attempt to collaborate on a musical project, and how elements of Warhol’s own audio aesthetics and taping practices find their way into Reed’s recordings around 1975. On another level, this presentation sheds light on an early moment in the emerging common practice of creating and gifting homemade mixtapes of curated music, and how such mixtapes function as a type of “closet media”—that is, marked by private audience, disappearance, and inaccessibility. Drawing on William S. Burroughs’s conceptual spliced-tape experiments, I explore the epistemological and ontological ramifications of sonically entangling the self with another person, and the queer intimacies of doing so on cassette tape.

Judith A. Peraino is Professor of Music and the Director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies Program at Cornell University.  Her publications include articles on medieval music, Blondie, David Bowie, PJ Harvey, early snythpop, and Mick Jagger. She is the author of two books: Listening to the Sirens: Musical Technologies of Queer Identity from Homer to Hedwig (2006), and Giving Voice to Love: Song and Self-Expression from the Troubadours to Guillaume de Machaut (2011); and the co-curator for the exhibit “Anarchy in the Archives” featuring materials from Cornell’s Punk Collection. Her video gallery tours for this exhibit, and on-stage interviews with Masha Alyokina (Pussy Riot), and John Doe and Exene Cervenka (X) are available on YouTube.

When? Thursday, 28 March 2019, 4.15 pm
Where? Janskerkhof 13 – Stijlkamer (0.06)