One of my Muses 1990’s: Who I aspired to be like – as an artist, as a storyteller. The dialogicity of work is multimedial. Voice, sound, image as well as devices, instruments and equipment for its production are taken as independent components of the narratives.
Laurie Anderson is one of America’s most renowned—and daring—creative pioneers. Her work, which encompasses music, visual art, poetry, film, and photography, has challenged and delighted audiences around the world for over 40 years.
In the early 1980s, Laurie Anderson was already respected as a conceptual artist and composer, adept at employing gear both high-tech and homemade in her often violin-based pieces, and she was a familiar figure in the cross-pollinating, Lower Manhattan music-visual art-performance circles from which Philip Glass and David Byrne also emerged.
The work of American artist Laurie Anderson inhabits the liminal territory of hi-tech theatre, visual arts, popular music, and cyberspace. Anderson started as an experimental artist in the early 1970s, and became a pop-culture celebrity in the 1980s after her song ‘Superman’ made it to the top-hit lists. In the 1990s, while continuing to perform live, she refocussed on the use of new media and technology. She created a number of web-pages featuring her work and explored the realm of interactive virtual performance with the CD-ROM Puppet Motel. She has also made experimental movies, exhibited sculptures, written two books, and invented several musical instruments and hi-tech gadgets. She explains this amalgamation in the following way: electronics have always been connected to storytelling. Maybe because storytelling began when people used to sit around fires and because fire is magic, compelling and dangerous. We are transfixed by its light and by its destructive power. Electronics are modern fires.
Big Science was about technology, size, industrialization, shifting attitudes toward authority, and individuality. It was sometimes alarmist, picturing the country as a burning building, a plane crash. Alongside the techno was the apocalyptic. The absurd. The everyday. It was also a series of short stories about odd characters—hatcheck clerks and pilots, preachers, drifters, and strangers. There was something about Massenet’s aria ‘O Souverain’—which inspired ‘O Superman’—that almost stopped my heart. The pauses, the melody. ‘O souverain, ô juge, ô père’ (O Lord, o judge, o father). A prayer about empire, ambition, and loss.”