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Concrete Utopias: Metaphor and Material

This symposium explores concrete, both as construction material and its use metaphorically to describe experiments in music and poetry.  Bringing together architectural, social and cultural perspectives, it will explore the utopian impulses and modernist thinking that informed different practices in architecture and the arts in the 1960s – brutalist architecture, musique concrète and concrete poetry – and their continuing interrogation by academics, artists and activists today.

The programme comprises two sessions, each starting with presentations by specialists working in the fields of architecture, sociology, visual art, poetry and music, followed by panel discussion, which will then be opened out to the audience. A concluding round table will consider whether a symbiosis can be identified between the different concrete discourses in architecture and the arts, and their interaction today.

The symposium takes place the day before Bluecoat presents Pierre Henry’s The Liverpool Mass at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King. This was commissioned from the French musique concrète composer in 1967, to be performed in the brutalist splendour of the cathedral during its inauguration, but it was not completed at the time. 50 years on, this electronic mass will be presented as a live mix, using 40 speakers arranged around the circular space, by Henry’s music collaborator Thierry Balasse. During the day, there will also be a tour of Liverpool’s concrete architecture led by the Modernist Society. 

For an outline of the days events and speakers please click here.

For a short biography on the days speakers please click here.

For a selection of abstracts from the speakers please click here

This event has been programmed to accompany Bluecoat's presentation of Pierre Henry: The Liverpool Mass at the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedreal on Sat 13 May, 7.30pm. To find out more about this event please click here.

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