Back in 1998, Laurie Anderson was headed into the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall – just down the hill a bit in Troy from EMPAC at RPI – to perform “The Speed of Darkness.”
“I guess you could say that it’s kind of my tirade about technology,” Anderson said in an interview at the time. “I was just feeling so frustrated with all of this equipment that I decided to write about it. It really is a situation where equipment and the technology tends to escalate. Not just for me, a `multimedia artist,’ but I think for everybody, and everybody feels this pressure.”
Chances are Anderson was feeling that same pressure earlier this month during the second half of her double-header, “The Films of Laurie Anderson” at EMPAC. The earlier 5pm screenings went off without a hitch, as she screened a wide variety of short films, including “What Do You Mean We?” (produced as a segment for the PBS-TV series “Alive From Off-Center”), “Drum Dance” (an excerpt from her 1986 concert film “Home of the Brave”), “O Superman” and “Beautiful Red Dress” (a pair of music videos), a captivating interpretation of “Carmen,” an excerpt from her 1994 CD-ROM “Puppet Motel,” a handful of decidedly left-of-center “Personal Service Announcements” (addressing the national debt and the national anthem, among other intriguing topics) and a strange promotional video for her 2010 album, Homeland.
The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York announces an evening of screenings by EMPAC distinguished artist-in-residence Laurie Anderson featuring a special guest performance with both Anderson and Rensselaer Arts professor and composer Pauline Oliveros. The screenings will take place in the Concert Hall at 5 and 8PM on Thursday, May 2, 2013.
The back-to-back presentations will provide audiences with a unique opportunity to be fully immersed in Laurie Anderson’s films and videos. She will lead us through two separate screening programs, including many of her works. The 8PM presentation will be capped off with a screening of a silent film to which Anderson and Pauline Oliveros play together.
Shane Koss, Laurie Anderson, Liubo Borissov and Konrad Kaczmarek (via Skype)
Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Sara Ayers
As EMPAC’s inaugural distinguished artist-in-residence, Laurie Anderson is committed to engage with RPI and the greater Capital Region community through events that bring focus and insight to her unique and wide-ranging artistic work.
The first public event of Anderson’s residency was a talk held last month, “Designing + Customizing Instruments for Performance and Recording.” It was an informal and fun affair, which managed to deftly blend arts and technology – a perfect fit for EMPAC.
For the first hour, Anderson served up a somewhat rambling, chronological talk about the variety of “instruments” that she has utilized throughout her artistic career, including the Tape Violin Bow, the Neon Violin, the Handphone Table and the Electric Chair. Utilizing photos, videos, audio clips and sometimes live demonstrations, Anderson also explained how she put technology to unusual purposes – for example, attaching a lipstick camera to the end of her violin bow or putting a pillow speaker in her mouth to orally control the sound of a violin.
Troy, NY — The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute announces a free talk by EMPAC distinguished artist-in-residence Laurie Anderson on Designing + Customizing Instruments for Performance and Recording. The event will take place in EMPAC’s Theater on Thursday, February 14 at 7 PM; and will be streamed to the Concert Hall for the overflow crowd expected. (The theatre is officially full, but the entire program will be shown in the Concert Hall where Anderson will make an appearance after her talk.)
Laurie Anderson will talk about her ever-evolving development of new instruments and interfaces for her productions and performances, and her “new rig,” which finally allows her to travel with a suitcase of her custom configuration of instruments. Anderson will be joined by her software and hardware collaborators Konrad Kaczmarek, Liubo Borissov and Shane Koss. She will also discuss her new work with the Kronos Quartet, which premieres in March as part of the inaugural performances of the Bing Concert Hall at Stanford.
“The first 12-inch record? Well, this is really silly. It was a spoken-word album of letters from the front, from a father to his daughter. Read, just read…letter after letter. It might have been called ‘Letters From Daddy.’ It was really sentimental, but I really loved it.
They were letters from some unspecified front. You never quite knew where this guy was. I don’t know who it was addressed to. Children who missed their dads, I guess. Children who wanted a dad. I had a really nice dad, so I don’t know why I wanted another one on a record.
But I loved that record just because it was so present, and it wasn’t produced at all. You could hear the paper rustling in the background like he was turning the pages of his letters. It was a great record.”
Multi-media performance artist and 21st century storyteller Laurie Anderson sits down with MASS MoCA director Joe Thompson for a conversation at 4pm on Saturday (January 16) at MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center (where she is in residence developing “Delusion,” a series of short mystery plays that will premiere at the Vancouver Cultural Olympiad next month.
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