Grace Jones: Musings - Part 2

Richard Bernstein, Inside Gatefold for Muse, 1979. Courtesy of The Estate of Richard Bernstein / Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York.
Richard Bernstein, Inside Gatefold for Muse, 1979. Courtesy of The Estate of Richard Bernstein / Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York.

What imaginaries do Grace Jones’ visual and sonic performances unfold?

In this series, we listen out for contemporary literary and academic voices that rehearse, record, and resound Jones’ contributions to black and queer imaginaries, looking at the role of music and performance in creating communities of affect and resilience. Part 2 considers the role of nightlife in constructing LGBTQI+ communities and activisms during times of crisis.

The series references Jones' third and final disco album Muse, thought to have been unsuccessful due to Disco Demolition Night, a 1979 anti-black, anti-queer protest against disco music where protestors set fire to hundreds of disco records. Disguised as backlash from rock music fans, the event forced disco underground, steering a lasting shift in the direction of popular music.

Listen to excerpts from cultural studies scholar, Tim Lawrence’s ‘Life and Death on the Pulse Dance Floor’; sound art collective, Ultra-red and media studies scholar, Jacob Gaboury’s ‘Elements of Vogue: A Conversation with Ultra-red’; Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity by José Esteban Muñoz; and popular music studies scholar, Luis-Manuel Garcia reading an excerpt from his unpublished manuscript, 'Intimacy and Utopia in the Shadow of Orlando'.

Mon 15 Feb: Tim Lawrence, ‘Life and Death on the Pulse Dance Floor: Transglocal Politics and the Erasure of the Latinx in the History of Queer Dance’, read by a member of 1525 Collective.


Mon 15 Mar: Jacob Gaboury and Ultra red, ‘Elements of Vogue: A Conversation with Ultra-red’.

Mon 19 Apr: Jose Esteban Muñoz, Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity, read by a member of 1525 Collective.

Mon 17 May: Luis-Manuel Garcia, 'Intimacy and Utopia in the Shadow of Orlando', read by the author.

Jacob Gaboury is Assistant Professor of Film and Media at UCLA Berkley. His research interests include 20th century histories of technology and computation, queer and feminist science and technology studies, computer graphics and digital game studies, and the intersection of contemporary art and technology. His work has appeared in a wide range of popular and academic publications, including the Journal of Visual Culture, Grey Room, Camera Obscura, Women & Performance, Debates in the Digital Humanities, Rhizome, and Art Papers.

Luis-Manuel Garcia is a Lecturer in Ethnomusicology and Popular Music Studies at the University of Birmingham. His research focuses on urban electronic dance music scenes, with a particular focus on affect, intimacy, stranger-sociability, embodiment, sexuality, creative industries and musical migration. He is currently conducting a research project on ‘techno-tourism’ and musical mobility in Berlin while preparing a book manuscript, Together Somehow: Music, Affect, and Intimacy on the Dancefloor.

Tim Lawrence is Professor of Cultural Studies and Co-Director of the Centre for Cultural Studies Research at the University of East London. Lawrence’s research focusses on the history of music culture in the United States and in particular New York. He is the author of Love Saves the day: A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970-79 (2003) and Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, 1980-83 (2016).

José Esteban Muñoz was Professor and Chair of Performance Studies at New York University. His works include Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics (1999), Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity (2009), and The Sense of Brown (2020). He was Co-Editor of Pop Out: Queer Warhol (1996) and Everynight Life: Culture and Dance in Latin/o America (1997) and founding Co-Editor of the Sexual Cultures series at NYU Press.

Ultra-red is a sound art collective that studies, develops, and tests procedures for collective listening that contribute directly to political struggles. Founded in 1994 by two AIDS activists, the collective conducts sound-based investigations in collaboration with communities involved in a range of social justice-related struggles concerning HIV/AIDS, anti-racism, migration, gentrification, and poverty in locations across Europe, North America and South Africa.

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