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Monday, April 7, 2014

On Laurie Anderson

I suppose, when I hear the word "lecture", I think of an especially narrow sort of presentation. I fully expected anderson's piece to be didactic, evenly paced and prosaic, like most lectures. "Lecture", in our culture, refers both to public speaking events and a stern talking-to from one's parents, which means that it can be easy to get them mixed up.

Perhaps the event should not have been advertised as such.

But I liked it, because Anderson eventually got around to talking about her process (being aware of how you work and who you are), and about all manner of things, and then she hit us with

"They can come from the air? Now they will. And there is no going back."


"Their mother's [maiden] name becomes a word so obscure it can be used as a password."

I live for those moments of revelation.

And then she showed the video with the buildings stretching forward into the sky, and I got lost in the fact that she'd managed to create a basso profundo voice at regular taking speed. Either she got the person with the world's deepest voice to speak for her, or she talked real fast and then slowed the track down. I forgot what she was saying. Something about how the day exists to wake us up?

In any case, most of what I was writing during the performance was about coming to logical conclusions about an ocean with infinite depth. I was paying attention, but my relevant notes are fragmentary.

What I remember about the piece is that it was a piece, not so much a lecture, and it was autobiographical, in the style of the finalist artists of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The autobiography, as a way of explaining intentions and working up to the physical part of the performance, is part of the performance, the way an introduction is part of a book.

1 comment:

  1. EVE, Insightful response to the evening we were witness to. She opened up our eyes and ears so to speak with her ideas, her honesty and her willingness to be real. Beautiful response.