Music, Art and Death

Beethoven's Death Mask by ed_and_don on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Beethoven's Death Mask by ed_and_don (CC BY-SA 2.0)

I was unable to attend the Plainsong and Medieval Music Society’s recent conference on ‘Music and death before 1650‘, so I was delighted to see Elizabeth Eva Leach’s partial conference review. (Thanks!) Turns out the PMMS is now on Twitter as well as Facebook. So, no excuse for not following the society very closely!

Death is the topic of another conference this year. The Art of Death and Dying will be held at the University of Houston, October 25-27, 2012. It’s an interdisciplinary event. In the call for papers, the organizers

welcome scholars in all disciplines to submit paper proposals on literary, visual, and performing arts topics related to death and dying. Topics of the symposium include, but are not limited to:

  • Depictions or interpretations of death and dying in:
    • the performing and visual arts
    • literature
    • film, radio, and television
    • artifacts as represented in archival or museum collections
    • architecture (e.g. memorial or cemetery design)
  • Commemoration of the dead in art, architecture and performance
  • Artistic depictions of the after life
  • Cultural death rituals
  • Cultural expressions of mourning
  • Death and dying in Latin American arts and culture

Proposals related to death in Latin American arts and visual culture are encouraged.  The organizers will accept presentations in both Spanish and English. . . . Presenters will be afforded the opportunity for their symposium paper/presentation to be published in the Texas Digital Library.

I like the digital library touch and will bear that in mind next time I’m organizing a conference. If you’re thinking of submitting, make sure to read the call in full on the conference website first, and follow the submission guidelines closely. The deadline is May 1, 2012.

I’m curious why death seems to be a hot topic just now. Maybe it always was, and I just hadn’t noticed before. I was wondering whether it is something to do with the US and UK’s recent wars? Or does this topic often come up around the turn of a century? (We’re still not that far in to the 21st century, after all.) Is there something else I’ve missed?