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ISEK - Institut für Sozialanthropologie und Empirische Kulturwissenschaft Populäre Kulturen

Music | Video | Spaces

Date & Location

  • 16 & 17 April 2021
  • Online (via Zoom)


Conference Description

The production and representation of space in film and (pop-)music has received increasing scholarly attention as of late. However, a surprising blank space appears at the most obvious intersection of these two fields of study: the music video. The conference jumps off from the observation that since their inception, music videos have been highly prolific and sensitive media of spatial imagination and production. Given this broad scope of recent and novel research in the field of music video studies, it is surprising that a systematic engagement with music video spaces bringing together scholarship on music videos with research on the nexus between music and urbanity, nature and landscape is still lacking. The conference aims at contributing to address this gap.

While the inglorious decline of music television sparked a debate on the apparent 'death' of the music video as popular art form, the skyrocketing importance of video sharing platforms and the decreasing production costs for digital filmmaking have made it abundantly clear that music videos are still very much alive and well. Being a fast-to-produce, easy-to-distribute and relatively low-cost medium, music videos are increasingly regarded as dynamic and sensitive inventories of contemporary visual and digital cultures.

Music videos conceive, depict and perform a variety of imaginary, communicative, social and cultural spaces and thus can contribute to sharpening our artistic and academic sensibilities and imaginations of the production of space. The conference welcomes scholars from all across Europe in order to further explore music videos' past and upcoming contributions to our understanding of space and our spatial sensibilities.


Programme (updated)



Friday, 16 April 2021


9.30 am – 10.00 am (Central European Summer Time)

Welcome by the hosts


10.00 am - 11.00 am

Keynote 1

Mathias Bonde Korsgaard (Aarhus): Music Video's Hybrid Audiovisual Spaces


11.30 am - 1.30 pm

Panel 1: Urban Music Video Spaces | Vertical and horizontal

  1. Maximilian Jablonowski (Zurich): Concrete and Water: Zurich music video spaces
  2. Antoine Gaudin (Paris): The Big City as a musico-visual phenomenon: aesthetic experience of urban space in contemporary music videos
  3. David Kerr (Birmingham): Representing the City: Singeli, music videos and informal settlements


2.30 pm - 4.30 pm

Panel 2: Music Video Time-Spaces | Atmospheres and Nostalgia

  1. Tomáš Jirsa (Olomouc): Rotations, Inversions, Affects: Rethinking the Spatial Atmosphere with Music Videos
  2. Bernhard Tschofen (Zurich): Contested Chronotopes? Claiming Nature, Past, and Belonging in Austropop Music Videos
  3. Stefan Hartmann (Augsburg): Dérive: Space, Sublime, Beauty


5.00 pm - 6.00 pm

Keynote 2

Tania Rossetto (Padua): Carto-Clips: Map-like Imagery in Music Videos



Saturday, 17 April 2021


9.00 am - 10.00 am (CEST)

Keynote 3

Owen Hatherley (London): Socialism, Electoral Politics and 'Plastic Soul' in London, 1981-1987


10.30 am - 12.30 pm

Panel 3: Music Video Media | Artists and Audiences

  1. John Richardson (Turku): Behind the Mirror, Under the Bed: exploring the homely and unhomely spaces of Billie Eilish’s music videos
  2. Anna-Elena Pääkkölä (Turku): See What I Sing: Finnish Lyric Videos, Karaoke Aesthetics and Narrowing the Gap Between the Artist and Her Audience
  3. Jonny Murray / Glyn Davis (Edinburgh): Pet Shop Window: Pet Shop Boys on Screen


1.30 pm - 3.30 pm

Panel 4: Music Video Spatial Politics | Belongings and Protests

  1. Alexa Altmann (Berlin): Desert (Be)Longings: Space-Bending, Identity Play and Sounds of Elsewhere in Contemporary Israeli Music Video
  2. Janine Schemmer (Klagenfurt): Music video as mediatised protest: Pitura Freska's Venessia in afito
  3. Johannes Springer (Osnabrück): The Spatial Politics of Pandemic Music Videos


3.30 pm - 3.45 pm

Closing remarks by the hosts





Dr. Maximilian Jablonowski, Zurich

Johannes Springer, Osnabrück


This conference is supported with grants awarded by:

University of Zurich Alumni Foundation

Swiss National Science Foundation