And I Said, Who is this Really?: Anomalous Visits with Laurie Anderson

Posted: June 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

Laurie Anderson is one of the first and, definitely pioneering, figures of digital, cross-platform and hybrid medias. Her transmedial approach (using divergent mediums to create her art practice and pieces) was fundamental to breaking the idea of a medium specific language of art, and her use of electronics and computers was foundational to the introduction of this medium to art production, presentation and elaboration.  Important and seminal in divergent, detailed and dispersive ways her approach confounded meaning boundaries and questionable mediums while delving and developing new techniques and approaches to the activities of art and its presentations.

Laurie Anderson gives an optimistic and enlightening address to a new batch of graduating art students (SchoolofVisual Arts, NYC) regarding Society, Work, Freedom, and Institutions and how the forms of art augment, disrupt, entice and supplement our existence. Laurie Anderson’s talk is definitely worth a look for everyone who wonders what art is, means, and what role it may have in 2012  (stay with the 30 min. talk as she does a short performance at the end utilizing “her love of putting electronics in my mouth”, as she puts it);

”A lot of the work in United States is highly critical of technology. I’m using 15,000 watts of power and 18 different pieces of electronic equipment to say that.” Laurie Anderson

“When love is gone, there’s always justice. And when justice is gone, there’s always force. And when force is gone, there’s always Mom.Hi, Mom!”   Laurie Anderson (O Superman)

”They say that Heaven is like TV… a perfect little world, that doesn’t really need you.” Laurie Anderson (Strange Angels)


“History is an angel being blown backwards into the future”  Laurie Anderson (The Dream Before)

“There’s a secret order in the sky. And the colours of the stars tell you their age. Their origin. How they began. And I’d never realised this before. I had never realised that I was living in an enormous clock.”  Laurie Anderson (interview, Critical Stargazing: An Interview with Laurie Anderson – Robert Barry 2010)

 From Home of the Brave, introduction sequence “Zero’s and One’s”

“… single person who has ever lived will be able to tell you what happens. Period. Nobody’s right and nobody’s wrong. So what do you do, then? With my experience, and how my mind works, and what I think about—let’s call it “the disappearing mind stream”—when you follow your thoughts and watch them attach to certain things, it makes certain things real and other things unreal, and you realize that this is all created by your mind.”  Laurie Anderson (interview, Amanda Stern, The Beliver 2012)

“The Handphone Table, Remembering Sound”

“I guess all my things are works in progress. “ Laurie Anderson (interview, LeisureGuy at More Intelligent Life 2010)

“Endlessness is certainly appealing.”  Laurie Anderson (interview, Robots and Thought, Carnegie Mellon 2010)

Boat (2012)

”Language is a terrible trick. People think that just because they know a word they know a thing.” Laurie Anderson (interview, Tenshin Reb Anderson 2012)

Laurie Anderson “asks a question?”

“One of my favorite baffling quotes comes from Lenin: “Ethics is the aesthetics of the future.” I guess it means that sometime in the future we’ll all be good to each other and communicate so clearly that we won’t need those things that we put in the beauty category. They’ll just be fetishes, relics. In my paper I talked about how belief and beauty rub up against each other to make something, and how uneasily they rest together. I used the Parthenon as an example. When the Parthenon was a place of worship, everybody brought their beautiful statues to dedicate to the gods, their kouri, to celebrate their victories, their dedications and their prayers. They propped them up all around the Parthenon, which quickly came to look like a museum; there was so much stuff there. So they all went back to the caves and the woods and the rivers where they could find the gods, because they couldn’t find them in the Parthenon anymore.”  Laurie Anderson (Interviewing Marina Abramović , Bombsite 2003)

“….I’m interested in situations that are almost arguments … that become something else and are dealt with through a conversation.”  Laurie Anderson (interview, Karyn Lo Muscio, Get Magazine 2011)

“Delusion” Performance (with Chalk Drawings) 2011

For A Visit to the myriad forms of Laurie Anderson’s work, check her website.

The Gray Rabbit, 2010 Video still


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