In just two weeks, if you happen to be in the Birmingham, U.K., area, Aston University will be holding “the first ever international academic conference on Kraftwerk.” It was bound to happen to any musical act that has released albums with titles like Trans-Europe Express and The Man-Machine—hell, they almost sound like academic papers already.
The conference, bearing the impressive title “Industrielle Volksmusik for the Twenty-First Century: Kraftwerk and the Birth of Electronic Music in Germany,” will last two days, January 21 and 22, and will showcase the “cultural-historical origins of the man-machine,” the links between Kraftwerk and German techno, and the “cultural studies of cycling.”
On hand will be former Kraftwerk member Wolfgang Flür, who will read from his memoirs, as well as Cabaret Voltaire’s Stephen Mallinder, Visage member and Blitz Club founder Rusty Egan, and esteemed music writer David Stubbs. For those wishing to unwind on the evening between the two day-long sessions, there will be a “Kraftwerk disco.”
The conference will takes place at Aston University’s Byng Kendrick Lecture Theatre. Those wishing to purchase tickets can do so here for just £20 (about $30).
In other news, less than a year ago Ralf Hütter confirmed that a new Kraftwerk album is in the works.
Here is a list of the papers that will be presented during the conference:
Ulrich Adelt, “Moving Up: Kraftwerk and ‘Kosmische Musik’”
Sean Albiez, “Kraftwerk in the Context of the 20th-Century Avant-Garde”
Heinrich Deisl, “Searching for Modernity: Socio-Historical Perspectives on Techno Music and ‘Das Deutsche’”
Pertti Grönholm, “Nostalgia For The Modern: Re-Imagining the Past Futures in the Concept of Kraftwerk”
Alexander Harden, “Kraftwerk and the Issue of Post-Human Authenticity”
Stephen Mallinder, “Kraftwerk: Modernity and Movement”
Alexei Monroe, “Trans-Slovene Expressions: Kraftwerk on the Sunny Side of the Alps”
David Pattie, “Ralf und Florian, Krautrock and Germany”
Hillegonda Rietveld, “Europe Endless: Geopolitical Retro-Futurism?”
Melanie Schiller, “Fun Fun Fun on the Autobahn: Kraftwerk Challenging Germanness”
Uwe Schütte “We Are the Robots! On the Cultural-Historical Origins of the Man-Machine”
Johannes Springer, “Kraftwerk and the Cultural Studies of Cycling”
Nick Stevenson, “Cabaret Voltaire and Dada Modernity”
David Stubbs, “The Archaeological Years: Kraftwerk before Autobahn”
Just for funsies, here’s the “Ralf and Florian” sitcom, which we covered last spring. Or perhaps it should be re-titled “Thalia, Aristophanes, and Ralf: Reifying Sapphic Assumptions in the Post-Hegemonic Discourse.”