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  Last changed - (French time): 2016/09/09 09:38     > Recent changes


This revision is from 2016/09/04 14:48. You can Restore it.

listening, auditoria, audiences / écoute, auditeurs, auditoriums : — Studies


étude / study


Cette série explore les œuvres prenant la notion d'auditorium comme principe /
This series is a study about works based on principles of auditoria.

• COMPOSING THE NOW (Michel Waisvisz) - 2003 — read /lire
• JULES VERNE - (Auditoires, Noise et Aventures Acoustiques / ''Audiences, Noise and Acoustic Adventures'') - XIX° — read /lire
• BREATH (Gerald Shapiro) - 1971— read /lire
• THE HANDPHONE TABLE (Laurie Anderson) - 1978— read /lire

Page : — — [Introduction (in French)]

Pages : — — [The Handphone Table (1978)] — [Part 1 : 1971-1972] — [Part 2 : 1973-1974] — [Part 3 : 1975-1976] — [Part 4 : 1977-1978] — [Part 5 : 1979] —

Part 4 - 1977-1978

cliquez sur les images pour les agrandir


-Received a grant from New York State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts
-Recorded several songs for "Airwaves" 110 records, New York and "New Music for Electronic and Recorded Media"
-Spent two weeks not speaking in Buddhist retreat
-Published stories in "Individuals" edited by Alan Sondheim
-Shot slides and film on the road
-Performed in many European avant garde music festivals

1977 — Tape Bow Violin(Edit)

— — I had been on an Indian reservation, at a place in Canada. There was a place called Corner Restaurant, and there were no corners on the reservation and no streets, you know. But it’s one of those adapted sort of things, and in the restaurant there was a jukebox and in the jukebox there was only one record which was one that was popular at the time, George McCrae’s “Rock Your Baby.” The Cree kids knew the song completely but with the weirdest kind of phrasing. They just learned it right off the record. I got real interested in that kind of tension between parodying something and swinging with it, so I made a film about that actually, about that jukebox, which is an animated crossword puzzle of various ways of spelling the lyrics to that song and the way they would leak into other meanings, like “Rock you, rock you”… so that the sound itself became very non-specific and it could be plugged into any number of meanings.
The soundtrack for that was using this violin voice thing so that is was a kind of parallel situation of enunciated things with the tone coming from somewhere else. That particular way of using sound is a lot like the things I’ve been working with recently, the tape-bow violin, which is an instrument that has an audio head mounted on the body of the violin.
Question : One audio head ?
— — One audio head, with stereo and running into a little preamp. Instead of horsehair on the bow, there is audio tape so that the dynamics of bowing then are really emphasized and it’s really a back and forth process.
I would make a lot of tapes in strips and then listen to them backward, you know, back and forth, and the first time that I was working with “wha” sounds, like “who are you ? Who is there ?”… and I was playing them backward and I started hearing all sorts of really interesting verse-reverse things.
I heard very plainly on one of the tapes “Lao Tse” which was the backward sound version of “who is there ?” It goes one way and then “Lao Tse” for some reason goes the other. It works very well bilingually because of the inflection. “Who are you ?” is “Juanita” backward. Well, especially languages that have a lilt at the end you know, “Juanita,” or “Lao Tse,” you know, anything that kind of comes up at the end. I mean, it doesn’t work anything like palindromes that are written backward situations. So I was thrilled to hear “Lao Tse” because I’d just been reading about a conversation that he had been having with another philosopher about whether it’s better to see or to hear, a real esoteric and totally un-resolvable conversation which he finally ended by saying, “Well, seeing your face is not as good as hearing your name.” So when I heard that name coming through, it was very exciting.
When I do a performance somewhere else, I would record, say, a lot of German phrases, going this way and then it would be English coming back the other way.
Well, the next one that I did, which was in 1975, called “In the Nick of Time,” the basic premise was really film more than anything else. I was interested in these traffic accidents in Amsterdam. At the time, you had to feel responsible for someone’s death ; you’d have to jump out, the cop would give you some chalk, and you’d outline the way the body fell and then come back and paint it in white, and I thought that was really grisly. They stopped doing it pretty quickly because it was just too depressing to see them, these silhouettes. I did like that sort of frozen motion, the way of diagramming motion, and so I did a series of films that were shot from the exact same angle, a completely stationary camera onto a table where there were several objects and a person.
For instance, there was in one episode a cereal box in one place ; during the performance that rectangle was sprayed red and the film would go on and later, say a book would just slot into that place with the red outline. By the end it was sort of a blackboard diagrammatic thing, just shapes that had been filled with different kinds of objects. I wanted the film to come from various different kinds of sources. So there was one long story about mothers. This film came out of this purse and onto the ceiling. It was like a situation with a lot of rigged objects and then for some reason it was all… instead of water it turned out to be, this is very elemental, a lot about fire. And all sorts of metaphors for burning. Those two early performances actually were pretty much based on things that had happened to me in a sort of distant past.
(Laurie Anderson, Interview by Kate Horsfield and Lyn Blumenthal, 1977, published Apr. 2006, Fnews, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago)

../files/articles/anderson/1977_tapebow1.jpg ../files/articles/anderson/1977_tapebow3.jpg

../files/articles/anderson/1977_tapebow2_1000.jpg ../files/articles/anderson/1977_tapebow4.jpg

1977 For Instants - Part 5 (Songs for Lines / Songs for Waves)(Edit)

—— from FOR INSTANTS - Part5, The Kitchen, NYC, April 23-24, 1977
—— from FOR INSTANTS - Part5, De Appel, Amsterdam, Holland, May 21, 1977
—— from FOR INSTANTS, Arte Fiera, Bologna, Italy, 1977
—— FOR INSTANTS-CONTINUED, Otis Art Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, 1978

../files/articles/anderson/1977_forinstantspart5_1.jpg ../files/articles/anderson/1977_forinstantspart5_2.jpg
For Instants- Part 5, Amsterdam - De Appel, 1977-05-21

The Kitchen - For Instants Part Five - 1977-04-23

Laurie Anderson. Songs for Lines/Songs for Waves. 1977. Film-video performance. The Kitchen, New York In this work Anderson explored the connections between classical music and a cacophony of industrial sounds.
She premiered
For Instants 5 (Songs dor Lines/Songs for Waves) at the Kitchen. Using the strong bass line and percussion beat of rock as the musical underpinnings for her narrative, and video images on a large screen to reinforce the story line, Anderson’s performance received enthusiastic reviews from art and music critics alike.
Laurie Anderson’s
Songs for Lines / Songs for Waves all have humorous lyrics pertaining to ethics, aesthetics, and other social phenomena.


This performance consists of ten songs (38'56'') in which music, language and images are equally important. In most of these songs, Anderson plays the violin, accompanied by her own singing and an audiotape (with spoken text, more singing or more violin music). Some of the text for Songs for Lines / Songs for Waves was played backward and forward : she reversed recorded words, exposing the arbitrariness of signifiers. Her songs are often combined with a film projection : she is framed by the light from the projection, and is playing with the shadows cast by her body and her violin. Anderson makes experimental music, and she often find solutions in technological inventions, as with the song 'a man, a woman, a house and a tree'. The music for this piece is created with the help of a ‘slow-scan’ machine, which registers visual information and transforms this into sound. These experiments are not only about music, but also about language: anagrams, play on words and poetic stories.

The introductory anecdotes that Anderson tells are just as important as the song itself. Anderson also uses the
tape bow violin, developed by Bob Bielecki and herself. This violin is modified in such a way that the traditional horsehair strings of the bow have been replaced by a piece of audiotape, on which spoken texts and other sounds have been recorded.

For the performance at De Appel, Anderson incorporated fragments of Dutch proverbs and sayings in her ‘tape bow’, as well as Lenin’s famous statement 'Ethics is the aesthetics of the future', which she plays in such a way that it sounds as follows: 'Ethics is the aesthetics of the few'. The movements of the bow visualize language in time. The linearity of the language literally reappears in the linearity of the bow.

— — "For me the violin is the perfect alter ego. It's the instrument closest to the human voice [...] I've spent a lot of time trying to teach it to talk. [...] Because the bow is drawn both ways, I got interested in backward sounds. [...] So I made a lot of songs that could be played both ways." — (Laurie Anderson)

—— [Access to another Song for Lines video]

1977 — Acoustic Lens(Edit)

— — Moore College of Art, Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, 1977-78


— — Lastly sounds can be conveyed through gases. In 1977 Laurie Anderson inserted a rubber diaphragm inflated with heavy gas in a wall. The acoustic lens works on principals similar to optics, the lens focuses sound to a single point. The focus point of the sound can be changed by inflating or deflating the lens and in that way adapting the curvature of the lens.(R. Block et al., 1980)

— — Laurie Anderson designed an acoustic lens at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. Bielecki constructed a sphere made out if a thin latex material. It was inflated with CO2 and inserted in a wall between two rooms. [One room contained a tape player which played a recording of a person whispering slogans by Benjamin Franklin. The other room, containing a statue of Franklin, was silent.] Sounds from one room were played through the sphere that focused them to a spot in the other room. [Working on optical principles, the lens focused the sound from the tape player to the exact point in the other room at which a viewer would encounter the statute of Franklin. The viewer would stand near the statue, with no loudspeaker visible, and hear the whispered slogan. The focus point of the sound can be changed by inflating or deflating the lens and in that way adapting the curvature of the lens.] Bob Bielecki once confided to me that it didn’t work too well but the idea was there.(Alvin Lucier, In Music 109 : Notes on Experimental Music, Middletown, Connecticut : Wesleyan University Press, 2012, Chapter 10 - Lenses, Intervals ; Laurie Anderson, Stories from the Nerve Bible, New York : Harper Perennial, 1994 ; Judy Donaway, My Beautiful Balloon, Part 1, in Musicworks 81, Fall 2001, pp. 14-21 ; Laura Maes, Unraveling the mystery: the creative use of natural phenomena in sound art, In ARTECH 2008, Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Digital Arts, 7- 8 November 2008, Edited by Alvaro Barbosa, Portuguese Catholic University, Porto, p. 29))

— — Acoustic Lens, Moore College of Art, Philadelphia 1978 : "While we were working on the project, we wandered around Philadelphia looking for a place to install the lens. We stopped at the Franklin Institute, the museum that houses a huge walk-in heart with amplified heart." (Laurie Anderson)

1977 — Jukebox(Edit)

— — Jukebox. Jan. 1977. Audiovisual installation. Holly Solomon Gallery, New York. The exhibition comprised twenty-four 45-rpm records in a jukebox and 5 photo/text wall panels.
— — Jukebox, Dec. 1983. Exhibition : Laurie Anderson, Works from 1969 to 1983: October 15-December 4, 1983, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania

(Laurie Anderson, "Untitled", January 1977, installation : Holly Solomon Gallery, photo : Harry Shunk)
Download a large picture

In 1977 Laurie Anderson developed her unique mix of popular and "serious" art further with an environmental-music piece at New York's Holly Solomon Gallery. Anderson hung illustrated song sheets on the wall and installed a commercial jukebox that was loaded entirely with her own songs and music. The musical style that Anderson takes on falls into the minimalist category with pop rhythms. She combines vocals, violin and electronic modifications of voice and music, just to name a few of her performance components. This results in a mix of minimal, new wave, spoken text and projected images. Her lyrics, while a necessary element, need music with them to make an effective impact.
[Such in
Dearreader (1975) — à vérifier], Laurie Anderson showed a series of photographs coupled with texts at the Holly Solomon Gallery in New York. An unusual feature of the show was the presence of a large jukebox in the room : viewers could listen to songs available to be played on discs via the jukebox which contained twenty-four 45 rpm singles.
— —
JukeBox was an exhibition of texts with photographs and 45rpm records in a juke box. At first the gallery was charging 25 cents for each song but there were a lot of complaints at the opening so after that they were free. Among the musicians on these early recordings are Peter Gordon on saxophone, Scott Johnson on guitar, Ken Deifik on harmonica, and Joe Kos on drums.

— — As Tom Johnson described the JukeBox installation in his Village Voice column in 1977, Laurie Anderson soon adapted the technology of permanence of music to her art.(In Contemporary Musicians - Profiles of the People in Music, Vol. 1, edited by Michael L. LaBlanc, Detroit, MI : Gale Research, Incorporated, 1989)

(Laurie Anderson ‎– It's Not The Bullet That Kills You - It's The Hole / Break It - 45 rpm - Holly Solomon Gallery ‎– 004, 1977 - The limited pressing of “It’s the Bullet That Kills You-Not the Hole”, was less than one hundred copies.)


1 — Speak Softly but Carry a Big Stick : A Film Song in 24/24 Time (Turn the Other Cheek, but Carry a Big Stick) — (3:07) - [A phrase by Theodore Roosevelt] - [for a tape bow on pick-up violin]
2 — (The Window) The Wind -oh ! — (4:10) - [Film/song for voice and violin]
3 — Talk to Me (Lucille) — (3:00)
4 — Like a CB — (3:01)
5 — Break It — (4:37) - [Listen]
6 — Stereo Song for Steven Weed — (1:55) - [This song tells the story of Patty Hearst’s boyfriend being interviewed by two F.B.I. men.] - [This song is scored for two microphones and speakers on opposite sides of a small room]
7 — Files in the Eyes of a Baby — (4:03)
8 — Time to Go (for Diego) : A Film Song in 24/24 Time — (2:45) - [Listen]
9 — Man in the Empty Smoke — (4:40)-
10 — New York Social Life — (3:20) - [Listen]
11 — Art and Illusion — (3:40)
12 — Is Anybody Home — (4:25) - [Listen] - [for boot horn, camera, stairs, piano, and voice, Peter Gordon: clarinet Joe Kos: drums Scott Johnson: bass Laurie Anderson: voice, violin]
13 — If You Can’t Talk About It, Point to It (For Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and Ludwig Wittgenstein) - or - (for Ludwig Wittgenstein and Reverend Ike) — (1:30) - [A quote from Ludwig Wittgenstein] - [one ninety-second composition featuring a stuttering vocal track modified by frequency shifting]
14 — Video Double Rock — (1:58) - ["Video Double Rock" poses and then solves the syncronization problem in an outrageous, yet oddly mundane audio-visual occurrence.] - [Laurie Anderson : "I usually watch TV in a rocking chair, and I have noticed as the chair moves, the image bends at the edges. A good solution is to put the TV in another rocking chair that is in sync, so that the image stabilises." A video composed for 2 violins that go in and out of phase.]
15 — One Day in Dallas — (5:29)
16 — Quartet for Sol Lewitt - [for four violins, from a drawing by Sol LeWitt used by Laurie Anderson to generate musical note values]{/cap}
17 — It's Not the Bullet that Kills You — It's the Hole - (A Reggae Tune for Chris Burden) [Listen]
18 — ? — Black Holes — or — Trophies
{cap}19 — ? — From Photography and Good Design [The text of From "Photography and Good Design," 1977, begins as a cynical account of a love triangle, but ends in pathos.] — or — Tape Bow : ETHICS IS THE ESTHETICS OF THE FEW-TURE (Lenin) (two songs for tape bow violin)
- [Listen]
20 — ? — Tape Bow : SONG FOR JUANITA (two songs for tape bow violin) - [Listen]
21 — ? — sh - [Voice, Tape [Thunder], Piano – Laurie Anderson] - [Listen]
22 — ? — Buy Buy Write : A Film Song in 24/24 Time
23 — Fast Food Blues - (3:34) - ["Fast Food Blues" was an interminably long song/ complaint about photo documentation. It included a recipe for disposing of your past. Just wrap it all up And blow it up to wall size.]
24 — Unlike Van Gogh - (2:50) - [Laurie Anderson : "it was a song called “Unlike van Gogh.” It was about that kind of writing because one of the reasons that I got fired—THE reason I got fired—from one of the jobs was because I made a point of mentioning van Gogh in all the reviews that I wrote because I just thought that his name should be in the foreground. I would just begin reviews, you know, with, “This artist, like van Gogh, uses yellow,” and then this editor finally said, “You know, not every artist can be usefully compared to van Gogh. Why don’t you take another tack on it?” So they all just started, you know, “This artist, unlike van Gogh, does this.” So I stopped writing after I was fired. I guess I really didn’t have a choice.]
? — Converse Song #5

(In Laurie Anderson, Works from 1969 to 1983: October 15-December 4, 1983, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Catalog of the exhibition, 96 pages.)

Anyone who wandered into the Holly Solomon Gallery last month was confronted by, of all things, a jukebox. It was a big stereo model, all lit up in the usual way. If you pushed a few buttons, it would play any one of 24 singles by Laurie Anderson, and the day I was there you didn’t even need to feed it quarters. On the walls of the gallery were a number of wall hangings, also by Anderson. Most of them were first-person anecdotes, conveyed by a carefully lettered text and a photograph. Some of the wall hangings matched up with jukebox tunes, and some were independent. I had the feeling that the artist would probably have liked having a tune for every wall hanging, and a wall hanging for every tune, but that some of her ideas just didn’t quite lend themselves to both mediums.

The singles on Anderson’s jukebox were in an artsy sort of semi-popular vein. Like most jukebox numbers, they were largely vocals, about three or four minutes long, and they generally conveyed a story or poem. But most of the other conventions of pop music were broken, if not completely ignored. Number 114, for example, was called
New York Social Life (see below). Speaking voices expressed insincere concern for one another, made casual unspecified lunch dates, and generally carried on in a cool, frivolous way, against a background of unpleasant, raspy string sounds produced on a tamboura. In Unlike Van Gogh, number 143, Anderson related a personal story about working as an art critic. The music in the background includes a chant on the words of the title, a high plucking rhythm, and a bass line. Number 121 admitted a number of extraneous sounds, such as a boat horn and a parrot. Number 100 featured a talking jew’s harp that conveyed a text almost comprehensibly. Number 103, Like a CB lamented the intrusion of CB signals on home stereo equipment, and itself had a brief CB-type intrusion.

Most of the songs had a personal, almost primitive touch in one way or another, but they were produced quite professionally. The stereo mix was often knowing, and Anderson sometimes overdubbed several vocal lines skillfully. Her violin playing came in several unusual forms, all of which she handled well, and she has real control over her singing when she wants to, as in number 102,
Talk to Me (Lucille). She also made good use of Scott Johnson’s guitar and Peter Gordon’s sax on some numbers.

There must have been an hour and a half of music in all, and since other gallery visitors kept selecting things I’d already heard, I could see that it could take all day to get through the complete repertoire. So I left before hearing everything, but not before gaining some clear impressions. Anderson is a good musician, and a good record producer, and though she seems to be steering a clear, strong path into a unique, semi-popular, semi-avant-garde area, she is also running into a dilemma. It has to do with one basic question: Is the gallery situation necessary to the music ?

I began asking myself that question before I had even left the exhibit, and even after thinking about it for a couple of weeks, I’m not sure of the answer. I can’t help feeling, though, that the exhibit involved some contradictory motives, and I can’t help wondering just a little about the integrity of the project. If the art-gallery and jukebox situation is really necessary in order for the music to make its statement, then the music should not even be discussed except as a part of a multi- media exhibit, and it should certainly not be issued on an ordinary LP, as it apparently will be before long. On the other hand, if the music has its own integrity, then why bother to put it in a gallery situation? Why not just present it as music ?

One can’t generalize about such things because so many works do function in more than one medium. Ballet scores become pure orchestral pieces, operas become record albums, books become movies, sculptures become theatre sets, and there is no reason why a gallery exhibit shouldn’t occasionally become a recording. Usually, however, works have to undergo a great deal of translating, revising, and adapting before they really come alive in a second medium. In Anderson’s case I sensed a bit of opportunism, an attempt to have it both ways, and I sense a bit of cynicism in my response. I just can’t stop suspecting that maybe the exhibit was a covert publicity stunt, an attempt to con us into noticing some music that we probably wouldn’t have paid much attention to in a more conventional presentation. And I can’t help feeling uncomfortable about having noticed.

(Tom Johnson, Laurie Anderson at the Holly Solomon Gallery, in The Village Voice, Feb. 28, 1977) — [Read the article]

1977 — It's Not The Bullet That Kills You (It's The Hole) (To Chris Burden) / Break It(Edit)

— — part of the series of songs available to be played on discs (45 rpm single) via the jukebox machine at the Holly Solomon Gallery in New York for the Jukebox exhibition.

Laurie Anderson, It's Not The Bullet That Kills You (It's The Hole) (To Chris Burden), 1977, 3:49
- Drums, Joe Kos - Guitar, Bass, Scott Johnson - Harmonica, Ken Deifik - Voice, Violin, Laurie Anderson
From the lp Airwaves, One Ten Records 001/2, 1977

— — Before Laurie Anderson had a record contract, she released this - her first single, apparently sponsored by the Holly Solomon Gallery for an installation (a jukebox containing this and a number of other songs including
New York Social Life). The song was dedicated to Chris Burden.

Lorsqu’en 1977, le 45 tours de Laurie Anderson sort chez Holly Solomon, c’est une galette vinyle, audible sur n’importe quel Teppaz, extraite de Juke Box, installation audiovisuelle exposée dans la même galerie. L’artiste a composé 24 (vraies) chansons, la plupart écrites entre 1976 et 1977 pour des amis, qu’elle accompagne aux murs avec 24 notices et 24 partitions.

La face A est dédiée à Chris Burden et s’intitule « c’est pas la balle qui te tue, c’est le trou ». L’œuvre est tout autant art qu’elle est chansonnette. Laurie Anderson a choisi dans l’extraordinaire profusion de la scène artistique la toute petite conjonction de coordination : et, oeuvre et musique, et installation, et scène, et art, et etc. A chaque forme correspond une diffusion particulière : du bac du disquaire à la salle d’expo, du musée à la scène, de la galerie à la page. Chaque forme juxtapose différents espaces émotionnels et correspond à des temporalités, à des qualités sensibles d’espaces et d’images matérielles et spirituelles, éminemment distinctes. En ce sens Laurie dépasse le vieil antagonisme qui oppose le générique et son contraire le spécifique. Elle contourne les 2 termes par une opération de bascule étonnamment simple : le récit.
C’est en effet du « récit » qu’elle extirpe les catégories, esthétiques autant qu’idéologiques, et les traverse sans les nier mais sans les suivre non plus, indifférente à la théorie (trop désincarnée) ainsi qu’aux phénomènes de fusion (mashed potatoes). Conteuse, scénariste ou romancière (« All my families are storyteller » dit-elle) c’est du mot qu’elle tire toutes les ressources de l’expression pour arracher à l’étrange ce qu’il offre de plus résistant pour l’intégrer à une autre forme et lui donner une autre plasticité. — (Thierry Raspail - Source : http://archive.grame.fr/Biennale/MES2002/laurie.html )

../files/articles/anderson/1977_burden1.jpg ../files/articles/anderson/1977_burden2.jpg

../files/articles/anderson/1977_burden3.jpg— — The piece is a lightly chiding song, in reggae style, dedicated to the conceptual artist Chris Burden, whose performance of his own work which required a bullet to be shot into his arm exemplified an extreme posture (approaching a John Wayne-ish caricature) of the macho male artist of the present decade.
If the song recalls the music of Kate & Anna McGarrigle, whose debut LP also came out in 1976, it might be the influence of Anderson’s friend and collaborator Roma Baran, who had just moved to New York from Montreal, where she used to play coffeehouses with the McGarrigles.

Break It : The rarely heard B-side to Laurie Anderson's first single It's Not The Bullet That Kills You (It's The Hole), released on a limited run by the Holly Solomon Gallery in 1977 as part of her Jukebox installation there.
Laurie Anderson - vocals and violin — Peter Gordon - saxophone — Scott Johnson - guitar — Ken Deifik - harmonica — Joe Kos - drums

1977 — Song for Juanita(Edit)

— — (soon)

Tape-bow violin, voice and piano, c. 1977.

1977 — Is anybody home ?(Edit)

— — part of the series of photographs coupled with texts (song sheets) at the Holly Solomon Gallery in New York for the Jukebox exhibition.

../files/articles/anderson/1977_isanybodyhome_tr.jpgLaurie Anderson, Is Anybody Home, 1976, 4:27
- for boat horn, camera, stairs, piano and voice
Bass, Scott Johnson - Clarinet, Peter Gordon - Drums, Joe Kos - Voice, Violin, Laurie Anderson
From the lp Airwaves, One Ten Records 001/2, 1977

1977 — Art and Illusion, Film Song 24/24 Time(Edit)

— — part of the series of photographs coupled with texts (song sheets) at the Holly Solomon Gallery in New York for the Jukebox exhibition.

../files/articles/anderson/1977_artandillusion_tr.jpg Art and Illusion, Film Song 24/24 Time (1977), [the title Art and Illusion is the same than the Ernst Gombrich's essay : "Art and Illusion - A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation" published in 1961 — (E.H. Gombrich, Art and Illusion - A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation", the A.W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts, 1956, National Gallery of Art, Washington (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1972)], combines a photography of a stuffed seal and hand-printed lyrics with an audiotape of her haunting refrain about the difficulties of separating art and reality.
Laurie Anderson presented a seemingly mundane story about a student’s visit to a stuffed seal display at the Museum of Natural History. Accompanied by a photograph as well as her reaction, the written and tape-humorous words to a song/comment on the story, the viewer/listener was not able to expand his/her sensory experience.

Art and illusion - illusion and art -
This is the song I’m singing in my heart.
Art and illusion - illusion and art -
Sometimes it’s hard to tel them apart.
What is a real seal ? Or was it only art ?
Art and Illusion, Illusion and Art.
Are you really here ? or is it only Art ?
Am I really here ? or is it only Art ?
Art and Illusion, Illusion and Art.
Sometimes it’s hard to tel them apart.

1977 — Stereo Song for Steven Weed(Edit)

— — part of the series of songs available to be played on discs (45 rpm single) via the jukebox machine at the Holly Solomon Gallery in New York for the Jukebox exhibition.

../files/articles/anderson/1977_stereosongstevenweed.jpgThis song tells the story of Patty Hearst’s boyfriend being interviewed by two F.B.I. men. Placed between them, he finds himself turning from one to the other to answer their questions.
« He said that after a few hours, he realized he’d been shaking his head the whole time, and that no matter what answer he’d given - yes or no or I don’t know - the answer had always been no ».
The song is scored for two microphones and speakers on opposite sides of a small room, and is accompanied by a photograph of Anderson looking two ways at once - [the photo superimposes two images to show Anderson, Janus-like, facing two opposite directions, speaking into two separate microphones]. Text, lyrics, photograph, score, and one’s image of « stereo » space begin to resonate as though they were all part of a harmonic mode with dissonant overtones. You get so wrapped up in thinking about Anderson’s dislocations of meaning that you can almost miss the fact that
Stereo Song for Steven Weed is a powerful fable about passive resistance to interrogation.
Gradually you begin thinking about the prevalence of interrogation in the modern world, about its importance on preserving ugly governments.
Steven Weed becomes a parable of the future, when yes and no - in other words, one’s right to individuality - don’t matter any longer in a macroworld dominated by forces greater than human will.(Kay Larson, Something Future, Something Past, In New York Magazine, July 23, 1984, pp. 48-49 ; and also : Kay Larson, The Patter of Little Feats, In New York Magazine, October 12, 1981, pp. 78 & 81)

1977 — Quartet for Sol Lewitt(Edit)

../files/articles/anderson/1977_lewitt.jpgDrawing by Sol LeWitt used by Laurie Anderson to generate musical note values for Quartet for Sol Lewitt, 1977

Laurie Anderson has used a variety of devices for creating scores, from a notated drawing to orchestration based on language and texts.
— —  "I composed
Quartet for Sol Lewitt by assigning note values to numbers according to their placement in his drawing. The quartet is scored for four violins." (Laurie Anderson)

1977 — New York Social Life(Edit)

— — part of the series of songs available to be played on discs (45 rpm single) via the jukebox machine at the Holly Solomon Gallery in New York for the Jukebox exhibition.

Laurie Anderson, New York Social Life, 1977, 3:21
Tambura, Scott Johnson - Voice, Performer [Telephone], Laurie Anderson
From the lp New Music For Electronic And Recorded Media, 1750 Arch Records ‎– S-1765, 1977

New York Social Life is a song about life lived on the telephone, says Anderson, and includes her droning listlessly, "Oh, hi, sure, let’s get together, let’s have lunch…"

One of the earliest Anderson pieces New York Social Life (which was later incorporated in United States) exemplifies many of the traits of the New York conversational style (fast rate of speech ; fast rate of turntaking ; persistence - if a turn is not aknowledged, try, try again ; marked shifts in pitch ; marked shifts in amplitude ; preference for storytelling ; preference for personal stories ; tolerance of, preference for simultaneous speech ; abrupt topic shifting) in an apt parody of New Yorker’s speaking style which creates instant involvement through fast, formulaic talk, overlapping talk and repetition of newly used phrases. However, in the performance frame, speaking to the audience, Anderson often creates involvement through the opposite means : slow tempo of speech and extensive use of silence. In interpersonal communication between two or more people in the literal or ordinary frame, inter-run pauses may signal conversational disfluency or they can be used strategically by speakers to gain conversation status. But speaking to her audience in the performance frame, Anderson can afford to produce long silences with little threat to disrupt the flow of her talk.(Adam Jaworski, Silences in Laurie Anderson’s performance art, In Silence : Interdisciplinary Perspectives, edited by Adam Jaworski, Berlin / New York : Mouton de Gruyter, 1997)

Hi ! How are you ? Where’ve you been ? Nice to see you. Listen, I’m sorry I missed your thing last week, but we should really get together, you know, maybe next week. I’ll call you. I’ll see you. Bye bye.
[…] Listen, Laurie, uh, if you want to talk before then, uh, I’ll leave my answering machine on… and just give me a ring… anytime.
These excerpts from New York Social Life focus less on the outrage of what is evidently an awkward discourse painfully aware of its own compulsion toward insincerity, what is a wavering between sympathy and selfishness, than on the superficiality of conversation as a slick surface of ready-made signs or gestures used to break off or establish contact quickly. It is what is business is called « one minute management ».(Herman Rapaport — Can you Say Hello ? - Laurie Anderson’s United States, In Between the Sign & the Gaze, Cornell University Press, 1994{/cap}

from the LP New Music for Electronic and Recorded Media (1750 Arch S-1765), 1977
Recorded At – Studios Of Laurie Anderson

1977 — Time to Go (for Diego)(Edit)

— — part of the series of songs available to be played on discs (45 rpm single) via the jukebox machine at the Holly Solomon Gallery in New York for the Jukebox exhibition.

Laurie Anderson, Time to Go (for Diego), 1977, 2:45
Guitar, Organ, Scott Johnson - Voice, Violin, Laurie Anderson
From the lp New Music For Electronic And Recorded Media, 1750 Arch Records ‎– S-1765, 1977

Laurie Anderson's New York Social Life and Time to Go (for Diego), both from 1977, are early examples of Anderson's anecdotal critiques of American culture.
Time to Go (for Diego) is for voice, guitar, keyboards and is one of Laurie Anderson’s earliest story-based sound pieces and was dedicated to art curator, musician, and No Wave pioneer Diego Cortez.
The first half of the song was dialogue by Anderson, interupted regularly by a bit of guitar playing, disolving into both guitar and violin as Anderson repeats "Time to go".

Diego used to be a guard at the Museum of Modern Art. He was on the night shift. His job was to go around the museum and tell people to leave. Or, as he put it, 'Snap them out of their art trances.' People who'd been standing in front of one thing for hours, he would jump in front of them and snap his fingers, and he'd say, 'Time to go.' Time to go. Time to go (repeat)

Time to Go (for Diego) (1977)

from the LP New Music for Electronic and Recorded Media (1750 Arch S-1765), 1977
Recorded At – Studios Of Laurie Anderson

1977-78 — Notebook(Edit)

— — Notebook, Artist Book Series #1, New York City, USA : Collation Center (& Wittenborn Art Books), 1977 — 47 pp., 14 x 18 cm, b&w.

— Laurie Anderson's Notebook consists of scores, scripts, photos, and anecdotes from four performances, arranged in a collage of before and after thoughts.
— Anderson's second artist book documents compositions for electronic violin performed in various ourdoor city spaces. The contents include
Film/song in 24/24 time, Duets on ice, Two songs for violin and projector, Duet for door jamb and violin, etc.

Cette œuvre de Laurie Anderson, Notebook, se compose de partitions, manuscripts, photos et anecdotes pris de quatre performances, et arrangées dans une sorte de collage d’avant- et d’arrière-pensées.







1977 — Talking Pillow(Edit)

../files/articles/anderson/1977_talkingpillows.jpgThe piece featured pillows with speakers inside. The piece invites the viewer to place their head on a pillow on a pedestal. A recording starts and it is Anderson herself, recounting dreams she had. The idea for the Talking Pillow came from a commercially available language-learning system that promised to « teach German as you sleep ». Laurie Anderson used the device to record stories about insomnia.

— — “In this dream I’m on a tightrope tipping back and forth and trying to keep my balance. And below me are all my relatives and if I fall I’ll crush them,” she intones. "This long thin line, the song line, the shout, this tightrope made of sound – the only thing that binds me to this turning world, made of my own blood... Remember me is all I ask and if remembrance be a task, Forget me..."

../files/articles/anderson/1977_talkingpillows2.jpgTalking Pillows at the Barbican, London for the collective exhibition "Laurie Anderson, Trisha Brown, Gordon Matta-Clark – Pioneers of the Downtown Scene, New York 1970s", 3 March – 22 May 2011, Barbican Art Gallery

1977 — Six Rooms(Edit)

Six Rooms a Proposal — Collection Musée National d'Art Moderne - Centre Georges Pompidou - Beaubourg, Paris.


1977 — Stereo Decoy : A Canadian-American Duet(Edit)

— — Art Park, Levinston, New York — commissioned by Artpark for outdoor work by artists programme

Stereo Decoy, Materials : piano, violin, walkie-talkie, audiotape, bullhorn, speakers, generator, mixer and microphone.
A monumental project,
Stereo Decoy : a Canadian-American Duet which sees a piano suspended on a crane across the River Niagara. Stereo Decoy was a duet for tape and live sound. On the Canadian side of the Niagara River there was a tape piece for violin and piano. On the American side the duet was live. The idea was that the sounds would ricochet back and forth across the gorge, back and forth across the border. Out of control. The bass rolling in magnificent waves, the treble bouncing everywhere.

Un projet monumental, Stereo Decoy : a Canadian-American Duet, qui propose un piano suspendu à une grue au-dessus des Chutes du Niagara. Stereo Decoy était un duo pour sons en direct et sons enregistrés. Du côté canadien du fleuve il y avait un enregistrement pour violon et piano qui était diffusé. Du côté américain le duo jouait en direct. L'intention était que les sons pouvaient ricocher d'un côté et de l'autre de la gorge, d'un côté et de l'autre de la frontière. Hors de tout contrôle. Les sons graves roulaient dans la gorge comme des vagues magnifiques, et les sons se répercutaient partout.

(Stereo Decoy : A Canadian-American Duet — Sketch for piano performance on a ridge overlooking the Niagara River, 1977)


-Worked as a migrant cotton picker with the Taylor family near Covington, KY
-Met Mister Spoons
-Wrote NOTEBOOK, a collection of scores and stories
-Lived in Berlin
-Performed at the Nova Convention; met William S. Burroughs
-Performed a series of pieces in Europe and the United States
-Did sound and visual installations at various galleries and museums in the United States and Europe
-Visited Benedictine Convent in Wisconsin to conduct a seminar with nuns on the spoken word
-Worked as a straight man for Andy Kaufman in comedy clubs and Coney Island
-Taught at Cal Arts, Valencia, California

1978 — Cassette in Mouth (The Pillow Speaker)(Edit)

In 1978 Laurie Anderson used The Cassette in Mouth, a small audio cassette of violin recordings [plays while] that she puts [a small loudspeaker] in her mouth so that she can modify the dynamics and phrasing by varying the speed with which she opens and closes her lips.(Jacqueline Caux, Laurie Anderson Brings Out Her Violins / Les Violons de Laurie Anderson, In Art Press nr 285, [Source (pdf)])

En 1978, Laurie Anderson utilise ''The Cassette in Mouth', petite cassette d’enregistrements de violon [lu par un lecteur cassette et connecté à un petit haut-parleur] qu’elle introduit dans sa bouche et dont elle nuance la dynamique et le phrasé en ouvrant et en refermant plus ou moins rapidement les lèvres. — (Jacqueline Caux, Laurie Anderson Brings Out Her Violins / Les Violons de Laurie Anderson, In Art Press nr 285, [Source (pdf)])

../files/articles/anderson/1978_cassette1.jpg ../files/articles/anderson/1978_cassette2_300.jpg

../files/articles/anderson/1978_cassette3.jpgSmall voice

Pillow speaker
(in mouth) runs to
concealed tape
deck which plays
tape of violin solo.

Violin coming
from mouth is
phrased and
modulated by
moving the lips.

Laurie Anderson performs a short song with a pillow speaker, in 2012 at the School Of Visual Arts, NYC.

1978 — Quartet for Four Listeners(Edit)

— — Laurie Anderson- Quartets For Four (Subsequent) Listeners - Holly Solomon Gallery, New York - September 9-September 30, 1978

../files/articles/anderson/1978_quartets.jpgLaurie Anderson’s acoustical installation - Quartet #1 for Four (Subsequent) Listeners, 1978 - inverts Rauschenberg’s procedure by having lights trigger sounds. A small gallery room is rigged with four large loudspeakers suspended in a diagonal row along the ceiling with four spotlights installed in a corner and four cylindrical light sensors hung in line among the speakers. In the darkened room a diagonal ribbon of light on the floor directs gallery visitors. The words ’note’ and ‘tone’ are printed on the floor at each end of the room.
When a visitor blocks the light, he/she activates four sounds : a repeated monosyllable, a violin phrase , a woman’s voice softly humming, and a sound that is either traffic or surf.
ln some ways suggestive of participatory theatre,
Quartet #1 for Four (Subsequent) Listeners is programmed for social interaction.
The installation invites the anonymous observer/auditor to perform acts of sensory engagement, which disrupt patterns of perception. For every action there is a prerecorded aural reaction in Laurie Anderson's installation. The piece is both engaging and entertaining.

1978 — Doormat Love Song(Edit)

—— and/or, Seattle, 1978

Laurie Anderson built a palindrome door for an installation at and/or Seattle, in 1978. As the door was opened or closed the Door Mat Love Song audio tape on the floor was played by a tape head under the door. The song was heard forward and backward.


1978 — Three Expediences(Edit)

recorded at ZBS Media, Fort Edward, New York, Feb. 1978.
In LP: Big Ego (Giorno Poetry Systems) - BIG EGO / THE DIAL-A-POEM POETRY LP
https://www.discogs.com/fr/Various-Big-Ego/release/798090 - http://www.ubu.com/sound/big_ego.html

2 LPs - Giorno Poetry Systems ‎– GPS 012-013 - "The Dial-A-Poem Poets LP" - 1978

1978 — Numbers Runners(Edit)

../files/articles/anderson/1978_numbers.jpg ../files/articles/anderson/1978_numbers2.jpg ../files/articles/anderson/1978_numbers4.jpg

Laurie Anderson’s Numbers Runners (1979) recreating a typical American phonebox, only becomes an entirely fuller proposition when the viewer picks up the receiver to hear the artists existential questions : a phone in a booth that plays back the talker's voice almost as he uses it, creating additional dialogue by interspersing recorded comments from the artist.

Numbers Runners est une cabine de téléphone modifiée. Il s’agit en fait d’une pseudo cabine téléphonique. Le spectateur-expérimentateur entre dans la cabine, décroche le combiné et le porte à son oreille: il peut alors entendre deux voix, celle de Laurie Anderson (préalablement enregistrée sur une bande) et sa propre voix. Le spectateur entend les mots qu’il a prononcés avec un retard (un décalage plutôt) de 0,75 seconde. Ainsi la cabine téléphonique donne la possibilité au spectateur-auditeur de participer à un dialogue avec l’artiste. Mais on comprend assez vite que ceci est un faux dialogue comme le remarque très justement Jessica Prinz :
« Dans la pseudo-cabine téléphonique Numbers Runners (1978), les auditeurs deviennent locuteurs, puis de nouveau auditeurs, ainsi ils sont contraints de se confronter aux mots qu’ils ont prononcés eux-mêmes. »

Le spectateur réalise qu’il dialogue avec une machine et au-delà de ça qu’il discute avec lui-même. Parler à une machine revient donc à parler tout seul et à échouer dans la communication. Certaines personnes ont cette sensation lorsqu’elles doivent laisser un message sur un répondeur téléphonique, tandis que d’autres ont la quasi conviction d’avoir un échange avec un interlocuteur. Outil de communication moderne, le téléphone peut jouer un rôle paradoxal. L’artiste montre en effet que cet objet peut court-circuiter la communication et provoquer son échec. Et comme le souligne Laurie Anderson elle-même :
« La chose la plus importante est que les gens apprennent à communiquer et à se parler. Les appareils électroniques ne sont que des médiateurs. Leur efficacité dépend de la manière dont ils sont utilisés. »
(Thomas Aucouturier, ÉTUDE CRITIQUE D'UNE PERFORMANCE - LAURIE ANDERSON: United States Parts I-IV (1983), 1977)

1978 — Tape Bow Trio(Edit)

— — The Kitchen, NYC, 1978

../files/articles/anderson/1978_tapebowtrio_1000.jpg The Tape Bow Trio : Patrice Anderson, Joe Kos, Laurie Anderson.
All three instruments were equipped with both strings and audio tape heads mounted on the bodies of the instruments.

../files/articles/anderson/1978_tapebowtrio2_400.jpg ../files/articles/anderson/1978_tapebowtrio3_400.jpg
Tape Bow scores for "Born, Never Asked", 1980

Tape Bow Trio - Say Yes (1978)

From the CD The Record of the Time (Sound In The Work Of Laurie Anderson), Museum Kunst Palast ‎– ISBN 3-9808208-8-2, cd 2003

1978 — Songs for the Night Driver(Edit)

— — an installation of slides and audio at the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut, Dec. 1978 - Jan. 1979.

../files/articles/anderson/1978_songsnightdriver.jpg Song for the Night Driver #3 contains the often cited passage, "I am in my body the way most people drive their cars."

Laurie Anderson plugs her body into technology to produce a cyborg-like character. Here sexuality is blurred in an androgynous figure, however, this is not the bachelor machine body of an earlier modernist practice. Although Anderson announces that her body is a machine: "I am in my body the way most people drive their cars", her autobiographical scripts are allegories. The car becomes the metaphor for the unconscious. The female body-machine is commodified in a familiar way, alienated from its own subjectivity. The car as feminine subject and extended (phallic) ego is analogous with the body as vehicle.
(Ann March, In Bad futures: performing the obsolete body, [Source])

— — United States (1983) is framed, for instance, by the image of a Night Driver, windshield wipers monotonously moving back and forth before her, lost on the way home from work. Wearing goggles that light up like headlights, Anderson says "I am in my body the way most people drive their cars." The body, that is, is a more or less mechanical conveyance for the mind that it hauls around - and yet most people drive in their cars mindlessly, or a least carelessly. At the outset we are introduced to this Night Driver in a piece called Say Hello.



Download Songs for the Night Driver presentation, Wadsworth Atheneum, Dec. 1978 - Jan. 1979 (pdf)



Peter Gordon

(composer, saxophonist, producer) first began collaborating with Jill Kroesen in 1973, when they were both graduate students at Mills College, and they have been working together ever since. Gordon has performed with his Love of Life Orchestra since 1977. He has an ongoing collaboration of video and music performances with Kit Fitzgerald, has composed four operas and numerous scores and soundtracks, and received Obie and Bessie Awards. Work with Lawrence Weiner includes films, recordings and an opera The Society Architect Ponders the Golden Gate Bridge. A frequent collaborator of the late Arthur Russell, he has been touring Arthur Russell’s INSTRUMENTALS, directed by Peter Gordon. He produced records for Arthur Russell, Rhys Chatham, Laurie Anderson, and Jill Kroesen, and was music producer for Robert Ashley’s Perfect Lives, as well as the Spanish-language version, Vidas Perfectas. Recent recordings include the retrospective Love of Life Orchestra (DFA Records), Beachcombing, with Factory Floor, and Symphony 5; and his new album with Tim Burgess, Same Language, Different Worlds will be released in September. Gordon is Professor of Music at Bloomfield College.

[see Part 3 : 1975-1976]

Scott Johnson

Composer Scott Johnson has been a pioneering voice in the new relationship being forged between the classical tradition and the popular culture that surrounds it. Since the early 1980s, he has played an influential role in the trend towards incorporating rock-derived instrumentation and electronic elements into instrumental ensembles and traditionally scored compositions. His music has been presented worldwide, by performers ranging from the Kronos Quartet and the Bang On A Can All-Stars to the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; in dance works performed by the Boston Ballet, the London Contemporary Dance Theater, and the Ballets de Monte Carlo, and in recordings on the Nonesuch, CRI, Point, and Tzadik labels. Recent awards include a Koussevitsky Foundation commission and a 2006 Guggenheim Fellowship.

[see Part 3 : 1975-1976]

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