Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Sara Ayers
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.