While Matthew Johnson was a student at University of Mississipi, Oxford, he discovered the overlooked work of the "hill country bluesmen." In 1992, he founded the Fat Possum record label as a way to record, document and promote these artists bringing their work to a larger audience. Think about the cultural implications of combining the legacy of fife and drum music, the diddley bow, the blues, cheap electric guitars, the music CD, and the power of the credit card. Fat Possum continues to this day with Johnson as president and a roster that now includes young touring bands. The video documentary, You See Me Laughin': The Last of the Hill Country Bluesmen, features interviews with the Fat Possum artists R. L. Burnside, Cedell Davis, T-Model Ford (he's still alive and touring starting in February) and Junior Kimbrough.
Like the Fluxus idea of "intermedia" in which creators were interested in seeing what happened when different media intersect--we want to see what happens when music, art, theatre, english, history and government students at Lawrence University intersect to work individually or collaboratively on video, performance, installation and web projects. We will discuss how artists, musicians and thinkers operate in an environment of newness, where there is not a precedent for exactly what it is they're doing. A series of case studies will provide a point of departure for our discussions and projects as will reflecting on The Radicant, a book striving to express the state of art in the 21st century.