“In its crumbling mansions and its crumbling minds, in its fractured, partial beings and its monstrous grotesques, in its blasted ideals, its bestial killers, its rank jungles, its fevered dreams, in all its manifestations of decay, the Gothic seeks only to speak of death.” – Patrick McGrath
Join us on October 5th for New York City’s Goth Symposium, an afternoon of illustrated talks on topics that consider consider the Gothic in society, culture, art, and music. In conjunction with the Pink Turns Blue live concert the same night, Symposium attendees will receive a discount to attend both events to make for a full day of dark delights.
$10 with a Pink Turns Blue ticket – got to this link for combination ticket: http://bit.ly/2zJwuYd
Presentation summaries are as follows (time tables with be announced closer to the event):
“Black on Black”
While the fashion varies and the music evolves, as the culture shifts and adapts, there is nothing more consistently symbolic of goth than the color black. Black is so ubiquitous a representation of the gothic it’s considered inevitable and obvious. But black is a complicated color and just like it’s spectral opposite white, it has two lives: a color and a culture, an adjective and an identity. There is black, and then there is Black. This talk examines the complicated and sometimes contradictory meanings of goth’s favorite color, from the aesthetics of mourning and horror to the mythology of “the dark continent” to Black is Beautiful. We’ll look at the meaning of black and Blackness and how goth occupies both of these spaces.
Leila Taylor is a writer and designer whose work is focused on the gothic in Black culture, horror, and the aesthetics of romanticized melancholy. She has essays published in the Journal of Horror Studies and The New Urban Gothic, and has given talks at the International Gothic Association and the Morbid Anatomy Museum. She lives in Brooklyn where she is Creative Director for Brooklyn Public Library. Her first book “Darkly: Black History and America’s Gothic Soul” will be released November 2019.
“Gothic Queer Culture”
Leather daddies dominating Folsom Street, alienated “little monsters” following Lady Gaga with religious fervor, queer artists ritualistically bleeding themselves on stage, HIV-positive poets writing about grotesquely decaying bodies on the precipice of death. Surprisingly, these varied figures share a common bond—they occupy the margins of normative culture and they live and create in a dark, Gothic world. They gravitate toward that world because there is something about the Gothic that speaks to queer experience. This lecture will propose that contemporary U.S. queer culture is Gothic at its core. By examining the Gothicism in queer art, literature, and thought—ghosts embedded in queer theory, shadowy crypts in lesbian pulp fiction, monstrosity and cannibalism in AIDS poetry and art, sadomasochism in queer performance—Westengard will argue that the 20th and 21st century has seen the development of a queer culture that responds to and challenges traumatic marginalization by creating a distinctly Gothic aesthetic.
Laura Westengard is an Associate Professor of English at the City University of New York. She is the author of “Gothic Queer Culture: Marginalized Communities and the Ghosts of Insidious Trauma” and co-editor of “The 25 Sitcoms that Changed Television: Turning Points in American Culture”. She also writes about popular culture, performance art, and contemporary U.S. literature and recently published an illustrated essay on Cold War-era lesbian pulp fiction for Morbid Anatomy. She is currently researching medical archives for an upcoming book on lesser known 19th and early 20th century medical devices that have shaped contemporary understandings of gender and sexuality.
**** There will be copies of “Gothic Queer Culture: Marginalized Communities and the Ghosts of Insidious Trauma” available!****
“We Are Entranced, Spellbound: Undressing A 40-Year Love Affair Between Goth and the Occult”
Witchcraft, Satanism, and the occult have been infused into gothic music since its inception. So much so, in fact, that artists are often labeled goth if they dare to look towards the esoteric and the pagan for inspiration. Siouxsie and the Banshees, Fields of the Nephilim, Christian Death, Dead Can Dance, and Miranda Sex Garden are just a few of the myriad bands that have incorporated occult aesthetics and philosophies into their work, but are there any tangible differences between artists who do so for shock value or creative fancy and artists who actually adhere to an occult practice in their personal lives? This illustrated talk will examine some of the most vivid witchy conjurations, mystical revelations, and occult explorations in goth music and culture of the past 40 years in an attempt to uncover why the two remain inseparable today.
Kristen Sollée is a writer, curator, and educator exploring the intersections of art, sex, and occulture. She has written for mainstream and academic publications including The Huffington Post, VICE, NYLON, Time Out New York, BUST, The Journal of Fashion, Style and Popular Culture, and Current Musicology; organized dozens of multi-disciplinary music and art events and exhibitions; and lectured at colleges and conferences in the U.S. and Europe on topics as disparate as feminist witchcraft, gothic aesthetics in hip hop, and the performance of masculinity in 80s glam metal. Her critically-acclaimed book, ”Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive” was published by Stone Bridge Press in 2017. Her second book, “Cat Call: Reclaiming the Feral Feminine” will be published by Weiser Books in the fall of 2019.
**** There will be copies of “Cat Call: Reclaiming the Feral Feminine” available! ****
“Mexican Gothic: The Thematic and Aesthetic Presence of Goth Culture in Mexico”
Mexican culture is a syncretism between pre-Hispanic cultures and Spanish Catholic culture, all cultures which featured a plethora of images related to death, mysticism, the theatrical and the macabre. These types of images also came to be associated with the Gothic tradition in music and fashion in the 1980s, and may help explain why Goth culture is so popular in contemporary Mexico. I grew up as a Goth in Mexico City in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and will examine what it is about Mexican culture that makes its pairing with Goth culture so harmonious; I will also discuss Goth music and imagery that came out of Mexico during this time and through the present, with the aid of both pictures and music.
Eva Aridjis is a NY-based Mexican filmmaker and writer. She directed and wrote the feature documentary films La Santa Muerte, Children of the Street and Chuy, The Wolf Man, as well as the narrative features The Blue Eyes (Los Ojos Azules) and The Favor. She taught Screenwriting at the NYU Graduate Film and TV program, and recently wrote for Narcos: Mexico Season 2. In addition to her work in film and TV, Eva has also directed many music videos and is a DJ.
“Dekompositiones: Post-Punk Album Art from 1978 – 1990”
The allure of a record is its multidimensionality: its art, utility of protecting the vinyl, and placement amongst others in a collection. This fusion between the music and the artwork becomes intertwined and sacred – an additional experience, something beyond the music and it’s almost as if one is not meant to truly live without the other. This illustrated lecture will connect the post-punk timeline through its album art. From the mainstream popularity of Joy Division’s “Unknown Pleasures” album to the appropriation found in many Sisters of Mercy covers, we will uncover the stories, influences, and meanings behind the artwork of some of our most treasured records and their unforgettable album visuals.
Andi Harriman is a NYC-based writer on all things dark and Eighties-centric. She is the author of the book “Some Wear Leather, Some Wear Lace: The Worldwide Compendium of Postpunk and Goth in the 1980s” and her writing has appeared in Red Bull Music Academy, the Village Voice, Noisey, Bandcamp Daily, Electronic Beats and L.A. Weekly. Additionally, she is a contributing editor to Post-Punk.com and runs the dark electronic party and label SYNTHICIDE.
**** There will be copies of “Some Wear Leather, Some Wear Lace: The Worldwide Compendium of Postpunk and Goth in the 1980s” available! ****