BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Scholars, writers, artists and filmmakers will gather in Bloomington on Feb. 6 to 11 for Wounded Galaxies, a weeklong festival, conference and academic symposium commemorating the counterculture movement of 1968 and its cultural and political legacy.
The event will feature academic paper presentations, film screenings, art and archival exhibitions, and performances, most notably “Piano Burning” in Dunn Meadow, a performance piece by contemporary counterculture musician Annea Lockwood. Writers and cultural critics Greil Marcus, McKenzie Wark and J. Hoberman will also be presenting keynote lectures.
Wounded Galaxies is produced by The Burroughs Century Ltd., a Bloomington-based organization, in collaboration with The Media School at Indiana University and IU Cinema. The events are supported by numerous campus units and community organizations.
Programs will focus on events that occurred in Paris, Chicago and Prague in 1968 and examine their relationship and resonance with current struggles in the U.S. and around the world. They include a recreation of major performances from 1968 and performances and exhibitions created in or inspired by the 1960s.
“The conference and symposium will highlight academic work about the ’60s, but the ’60s as seen through a contemporary intellectual lens,” said Joan Hawkins, associate professor in The Media School and one of the event’s organizers. ”It must be said, though, that this kind of event is possible only because of the ’60s – when people challenged the idea of what could be taught at the university and agitated for the inclusion of the everyday in academic discourse.”
Hawkins noted that the longest student-faculty strike in the 1960s was not an anti-war demonstration but rather a strike at San Francisco State University to demand the creation of what was then called a black studies program.
“The strike lasted four months – and because of that strike and others like it across the nation, we now have departments with names like African American and African diaspora studies and gender studies,” Hawkins said. ”The conference is designed to highlight the kind of knowledge production and scholarly work that the ’60s made possible.”
The festival’s subtitle, “1968 – Beneath the Paving Stones, the Beach,” is a translation of popular French resistance graffiti, referring to the sand beneath cobblestones lifted by students to hurl at police. The expression also references the Situationist conviction that the streets, a manifestation of capital and consumption, could be rediscovered by abandoning a regimented life. Situationists were a Paris-based group of international avant-garde artists, political theorists and radical intellectuals.
IU Cinema will screen several late-1960s films curated by J. Hoberman, including George A. Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead,” Jean-Luc Godard’s “La Chinoise” and Otto Preminger’s “Skidoo.” The full film schedule is available on the Wounded Galaxies films page.
Attendees can also visit art exhibitions throughout the week. The Lilly Library will feature a Situationist exhibition; I Fell Gallery will host a retrospective from artist Rikki Ducournet; and Franklin Hall will display a photo exhibit from the IU Archives. Artist Ward Shelley will exhibit several works in the main lobby of the Wells Library.
The festival is accompanied by an academic symposium, with paper presentations and lectures on a wide variety of subjects relating to the international history and cultural legacy of 1968.
Wounded Galaxies is sponsored by The Media School, IU Cinema, College Arts and Humanities Institute, Bloomington Arts Commission, Black Film Center/Archive, Arts and Humanities Council and almost two dozen other IU and local sponsors.