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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
• LAURIE ANDERSON (Early Works 1971-1978)— read /lire
• SIX SOUND PROBLEMS (Bruce Nauman) - 1968— 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 5 - 1979

cliquez sur les images pour les agrandir


-Received a grant from National Endowment for the Arts
-"Blue Horn File", a trio with Peter Gordon and David Van Tieghem, performed at the Mudd Club. The name was inspired by something from a Bob Wilson play.
-Performed in "New Music New York" at the Kitchen, New York

1979 — Words in Reverse(Edit)

../files/articles/anderson/1979_wordsinreverse.jpgLaurie Anderson
Words in Reverse
Buffalo, USA: Hallwells, 1979
16 pp., staplebound

Words in Reverse presents texts from Laurie Anderson's performance pieces. In her work text, graphics, and minimalist music fuse into a non-linear, non-chronological narrative, invoking a variety of discourses, from poetry, social work, psychology and others, only to show the limits of words and images ability to express reality. The booklet is entirely text-based, featuring extracts from Anderson's performances Like A stream and Americans on The Move from 1978 & 1979. Some of the texts were later reworked into songs or incorporated into other performances.

Excerpts :

—— I saw a photograph of Tesla, who invented the Tesla coil. He also invented a pair of shoes with soles four inches thick to ground him while he worked in the laboratory. In this picture, Tesla is sitting in his lab, wearing the shoes, and reading a book by the light of the long, streamer-like sparks shooting out of his transformers.

—— There are Eskimos who live above the timberline. There’s no wood for the runners on their sleds. So instead, they use long frozen fish which they attach to the bottoms of their sleds to slip across the snow.

—— I can draw you so that you have no ears. I can draw you so that you have no ears at all. So that where your ears would be, there is only blank paper.

—— The detective novel is the only novel truly invented in the twentieth century. In the detective novel, the hero is dead at the very beginning. So you don’t have to deal with human nature at all. Only the slow accumulation of facts ... of data ...In science fiction, the hero just flies in at the very beginning. He can bend steel with his bare hands. He can walk in zero gravity. He can see right through lead doors. But no one asks how he is able to do these things. They just say, “Look! He’s walking in zero gravity.” So you don’t have to deal with human nature at all.

(Click to enlarge)
(Excerpts of "Up is Up, But So is Down", "New York’s Downtown Literary Scene, 1974-1992", edited by Brandon Stosuy, New York University Press, 2006 — [Download the excerpt (pdf)])


1979 — Psycho Acoustics (w/ Julia Heyward)(Edit)

— — May 8, 1979 - (For Instants - Part 5) Duo performance, Antwerpen, ICC.
— — May 17, 1979 - Duo performance at Modern Art Galerie, Audio Scene 79 "sound, a medium for visual art", Vienna
http://kunstradio.at/HISTORY/WORKS/anderson_heyward_psy.html https://www.discogs.com/fr/Peter-Downsbrough-Laurie-Anderson-Julia-Heyward-Mag-Magazin-2/release/1194371

Psycho Acoustics by Laurie Anderson en Julia Heyward:
Collection of monologues and talk songs involving visual information, body gesture, humor, electronics, vocal work, language and music. Both artists have worked for several years in performance. This piece represents the similarities and differences between two kinds of thought structures.
Anderson and Heyward, both stars of the international performance-art scene of the second half of the 70ies, got together to combine their skills of manipulating the human voice technically and technologically: Heyward using mostly Asian spiritually informed vocal techniques and Anderson employing her exptertise with the Vocoder and other state of the art analogue and electronic technologies.

Laurie Anderson & Julie Heyward - Song from America On The Move (12:50) (The Nova Convention, 1978)

From the LP The Nova Convention, Giorno Poetry Systems (GPS 014-015), 1979, http://www.ubu.com/sound/nova.html
The Nova Convention took place on November 30, December 1, and December 2, 1978. — [Source (mp3)]

Psycho Acoustics, performance Heyward - Anderson, Audio Scene 79, Vienna
../files/articles/anderson/1979_psychoacoustics7.jpg ../files/articles/anderson/1979_psychoacoustics8.jpg

Modern Art Galerie ‎– MAG MAGAZIN 2 - Cassette, Limited Edition, C90 - Jun 1979

1979 — Americans on the Move(Edit)

— — Preview (Part One & Part Two) — Carnegie Recital Hall, NYC, February 11, 1979(commissionned by Holly Solomon)
— — The Kitchen Center for Video, Music and Dance, NYC, April 1979(See : Dasgupta, Gautam. "Laurie Anderson, Americans on the Move: Parts I and II, The Kitchen," Performance Art, no.1 1979. p. 47) - (Anderson, Laurie. "Americans on the Move, Parts One and Two (Script)." Drama Review 24/2 (June 1980): 54-64.)
— — Theatre of Nations, Hamburg
— — Festival d'Automne, Paris, oct. 1979Extraits de Modern America moves, oeuvre in progress sur la culture américaine. — Solo pour violon, voix, avec projections et utilisation d'électronique. — Chapelle de la Sorbonne, 4 octobre 1979 — [programme Festival d'Automne (pdf)]
— — International Theater Festival, Brussels

Les performances de Laurie Anderson sont très théâtrales. Elle présentera à Paris des extraits d'une grande œuvre en cours sur la culture américaine MODERNE AMERICA MOVES et des extraits de SAY HELLO. Elle utilise des anecdotes qu'elle produit d'unepart en film, une autre partiesur bande, et joue en direct du violon, puis parle, chante. Pour certaines œuvres, elle a remplacé le crin de son archet par une bande magnétique, et le chevalet du violon par une tête de lecture de magnétophone et peut ainsi créer des phrases, les inverser, etc. — (Patrick Szersnovicz)

— — I always felt it was a mistake being labelled as an autobiographical artist… Most of the work that I do is two-part or stereo, not monolithic at all - so there’s always the yes/no, he/she, or whatever pairs I’m working with.(Laurie Anderson, 1979)

Using cartoonish moving projections and overlays of maps and lines, Laurie Anderson charmed her audiences with anecdotes about traveling across America (staying in a nunnery, being picked up by a sex-crazed truck driver, flying in and out a control airplane, and so forth). During each story, a gesture, a phrase or sound was repeated from the one before. This stimulated Anderson into a new musical phase : whether dancing / gesticulating hysterically, belting our a punk rock song (with her band), making strange electronic noises or doing increasingly abstract imitations of her story characters. Each final moment led associatively to another story : the waving goodbye of a violin bow became a windshield wiper ; the words ‘current’ gave rise to an anecdote about Thomas Edison and his arch-rival, the otherworldly Nikolai Tesla. As Americans on the Move unfolded, the audience began to notice the constant repetition of objects, gestures, words, shapes and sounds, which accelerated into outer space finale.(Mel Gordon, Performance Artist / Art Performer : Laurie Anderson, In Contemporary American Theatre, edited by Bruce King, Palgrave Macmillan, 1991, p. 199)
Americans on the Move was later incorporated into the extravaganza United States, Parts I-IV, a seven-hour, four-part multimedia event about transportation, politics, money, etc., first performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1983.

(Click to enlarge)

Laurie Anderson, Pioneer Spacecraft Emblem, In Americans on the Move
Americans on the Move, an inter-media performance on the peregrinations of media, which early on in a relatively aniconic presentation, projected two images emblazoned on the Pioneer spacecraft. Two schematics of a nude man and woman, the man with his arms down in a passive pose, dramatize the gendered dimensions of communication in both proprietary and naturalized terms.(Pamela M. Lee, New Games : Postmodernism After Contemporary Art, NY and London : Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2013, pp. 173-174)


(From United States I-IV, live)


Craig Owens, Beyond Recognition - Representation, Power, and Culture, University of California Press, September 1994 — [Source]


O Superman (1980-1981)(Edit)

—— O Superman was part of a larger stage work titled United States and was included on the album Big Science.
— —
O Superman becomes a No. 2 hit in England, 1981

(Click to enlarge)




United States II (1981)(Edit)

—— United States Part II
Presented at The Orpheum Theatre, NYC.

 « I see London, I see France, I’ve seen those peppy German dance. Take me back New York City. Nurse ! »

(Click to enlarge)

../files/articles/anderson/1981_unitedstates_1.jpg ../files/articles/anderson/1981_unitedstates_2.jpg

../files/articles/anderson/1981_unitedstates_3.jpg ../files/articles/anderson/1981_unitedstates_4.jpg

Intro Tape

I’ve been travelling around a lot lately doing concerts and a lot of them have been in French. Unfortunately, I don’t speak French. I memorize it. I mean, my mouth is moving but I don’t understand what I’m saying. It’s like sitting at the breakfast table and it’s early in the morning and you’re not quite awake - and you’re just sitting there eating cereal and sort of staring at the writing on the box - not reading it exactly - just more or less looking at the words. And suddenly, for some reason, you snap to attention, and you realize that what you’re reading is what you’re eating… but by then it’s much too late.

After doing these concerts in French, I usually had the temporary illusion that I actually could speak French, but as soon as I walked out on the street - and someone asked mu simple directions, I realized I couldn’t speak a single word. As a result of this inadequacy, I found that the people I had the most rapport with were the babies. And one of the things I noticed about these babies was that they were apparently being used as some kind of traffic testers. Their mothers would be pushing them along in their strollers - and they would come to a busy street with lots of parked cars — and the mother can’t see what the traffic is like because of all the parked cars — so she just sort of edges the stroller out into the street and cranes here head out afterwards. And the most striking thing about this is the expression on theses babies’ faces as they sit there in the middle of the traffic… stranded… banging those little gavels they’ve all got… and they can’t even speak English - you know what I mean ?

[Source (Platform Digital Humani­ties - University of Antwerp)]

Let X = X (1982)(Edit)

—— Laurie Anderson, Let X = X, (5:00), Recorded and Mixed At The Lobby, Engineer – Leanne Ungar, Producer – Laurie Anderson, Roma Baran
— — Artforum Magazine Free 7", 33rpm, Feb. 1982

(Click to enlarge)




United States I-IV (1983)(Edit)

Lire : (Thomas Aucouturier, ÉTUDE CRITIQUE D'UNE PERFORMANCE - LAURIE ANDERSON: United States Parts I-IV (1983), 1977)


The relation of Laurie Anderson’s total art to urban Postmodern writing is not casual. Anderson involved William S. Burroughs in her tours (1981 and years after ; see also : the John Giorno Poetry System’s collective album, You are the Guy I Want to Spend My Money With) and explicitly refers to Thomas Pynchon in her lyrics, borrowing from him the extra-urban typology of the highway as labyrinth and the poetics of linguistic disorder and entropy in a high-tech urban space — the song Gravity’s Angel in Mr Heartbreak album (1987), est clearly evocative of his novel, The Crying of Lot 49. In borrowing many of Pynchon’s themes and his cutting-up technique at both the visual and the textual level, Anderson seems to incorporate two aspects of the Postmodern texts : the theme of the production of meaning in the electronic city and the need to find an adequate, allegorical form to express the plurilinguistic nature of the city — and the transformation of the individual body from an autobiographical presence into a polymorphic and polyphonic « electronic body ». Anderson transforms the big city - which the Surrealists portrayed by means of a montage of unrelated fragments - into a multimedia collage interspersed with apologues, forming a kind of short, enigmatic narrative. Her urban stories thus possess the same open-ended, suspended quality of Postmodern writing, and emphasize its conceptual nature by posing the reader unsolved questions and verbal riddles.
— (In Daniela Daniele, Urban Displacement and Failed Encounters in Surrealist and Postmodern Writing, Chapter 7, Electronic bodies and humor in Laurie Anderson’s empty places, Postmodern Studies nr 28, Amsterdam, Atlanta : Rodopi, 2000, p. 175)


The Floating Theater (1988)(Edit)


(Click to enlarge)


The End of the Moon (2002-2004)(Edit)

—— It was really a big honor to be the first NASA artist-in-residence. Obviously my first question was “Can I go up?” I would give anything to go up there. Really anything! The answer was no. But I loved meeting the scientists and designers and of course I got to see a lot of amazing things.
“ The End of the Moon” is, I guess, a phrase that has some of the melancholy I feel at the moment. Not just melancholy really. More like loss. Like I lost something and I can’t quite put my finger on what it is. Actually I think what I lost was a country. The last three years have been pretty tough, pretty alienating for a lot of people. And in this piece I’m trying to look at some of those things. On the other hand I see this as sort of a report that I’m making to wind up my time as artist-in-residence at NASA.
“The End of the Moon” is about the queasy feelings you might have later. It’s dreamier. More abstract. There is a lot more trepidation about the future. There’s uncertainty. It’s my best attempt at describing life at this moment.
— (Laurie Anderson)

(Click to enlarge)
— — It may come as a surprise that NASA even has an art program, but artistic interpretation of the space agency has existed since its inception. The NASA Art Program was founded in 1962 as an attempt to make NASA’s enterprises more available to a popular American audience. The Program’s original director, James Webb, “wanted to convey to future generations the hope and sense of wonder that characterized the early days of space exploration.” While many of the artists funded by NASA have been visual artists—alumni include Annie Leibovitz, Robert Rauschenberg, Terry Riley, and Norman Rockwell—Anderson was the first performance artist invited for a residency.
Anderson’s Moon intervenes into this perennial limitation of American imagination with regard to inclusive practices in astronomy. Her storytelling is a proposal for citizen engagement with the process of exploratory and experiential astronomy as it was being practiced by NASA in the mid-2000s. Anderson’s combination of the human, the technological, and the animal—represented onstage physically, imagistically, and textually—constitutes a cyborg system intent on subverting culturally accepted notions of science that have come to be, she implies, accessible only to those agents performing almost exclusively within the secret domain of the military.

Anderson transduces NASA into a familiar object by isolating a sound that is a piece of a human: a voice. The tale begins with a description of a typical day in her studio in the company of her dog. The telephone rings. She describes the NASA representative on the other end of the line not as a person, but as a voice. “The voice said, ‘this is so and so and I’m from NASA and we’d like you to be the first artist-in- residence here.’ ‘You’re not from NASA,’ and I hung up the phone.” Anderson continues to recount how the voice from NASA called back, and so her astronomy-integrative performance research began. Anderson’s choice to depict NASA as a voice renders the giant organization manageable. One voice can have a conversation with another voice on the telephone, but an individual might not as easily encounter a high-profile science institution such as NASA in its entirety.
Anderson’s citizen-scientist performance opens with a pastiche of iconic twentieth century images that have come to define an American idea of the night sky. These images’ ubiquity in American pop culture contributes to an atmosphere of familiarity that enables an empathetic relationship between general audiences and science-oriented performance to transpire.
Anderson is seated in the downstage right chair (where Wise’s mother bunny sits), surrounded by stars—tea candles—scattered across the stage, and the moon in its upstage left corner. Anderson’s moon is a fragment, indicative of the partial relationship that a human has with any piece of the universe. This synecdochal moon is a reproduction of the well-known photograph of Neil Armstrong’s lunar footprint. Taken in 1969 and projected onto a classroom-sized screen, Anderson’s deconstructed moon is nonetheless familiar to a general American audience in 2004.

(Click to enlarge)

(Click to enlarge)
poster, 2006.

The hybrid project of knowing outer-space holds the capacity to radically alter conventionally held notions of humanity’s place in the world. This was the case with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), which produces breathtaking images of the universe that are now readily available in a variety of contemporary media. History, astronomy, and technology are necessarily entwined enterprises because of astronomy’s methodological reliance upon the reference to and manipulation of many different visual representations of individual astronomical objects captured over long periods of time. HST images add to an archive of telescopically transduced celestial imagery that has been accumulating around the globe for centuries. HST images have become a popular way for astronomers and curious amateurs to get an idea of the appearance and composition of objects in outer-space. In Moon, Anderson speaks for the non-expert as she performs her curiosity about the way that HST engineers manipulate images of celestial objects.
In astrophotography, the distant celestial body may really exist, but it is also a product of the technology that detects it, the telescopic camera that captures previously unknowable information, and a transductive process that involves choices made by intentional human agents. She voices a discrepancy between how celestial objects exist in their original environments and how those objects are represented to consumer-audiences of science media. Anderson brings her critique of technologically mediated images back to the human body: “We’re always fixing up photographs,” she remarks. “One of the things that really bothers me about photography,” she continues, “is that you never know how hot it is in the photograph.”
Colorization is one way that HST engineers attempt to transduce spectrally invisible information collected by the HST into images that are meaningful for popular audiences and astronomy experts alike. Art historian Shana Cooperstein explains that colorization "encourages people to imagine links between photography and vision, as well as between ‘truth’ and visional perception.” HST astronomers isolate wavelengths that are not on the visible spectrum and ascribe an unrealistic color to them. The effect is a fantastic image that the unaided human eye could never see, but that nevertheless registers as realistic and familiar in the imagination of the observer. Neither realist acting techniques nor HST image manipulation replicate identical copies of the original object of observation, be it a fictional character or a distant star. In theatrical and photographic forms, a sense of familiarity with a scenario or an image is essential for spectators to empathetically engage with the representation of a novel object.
Through HST composite, colorized imaging, astronomers create new pictures of familiar objects that index more information than ever before, but that continue to resemble the iconic images captured by earlier astronomers. Visual reference to earlier astronomical icons encourages non-scientist viewers of these images to access any memory they may have about what they already know of these objects, and thus to cognitively build upon previous memories in a continuous development of learning about the objects in question.

In Moon, Anderson’s trademark electric violin solos create time and space for viewers to process her performatic transduction of NASA as it mingles with subjective associations among the audience : saying “Excuse me, can you tell me where I am?”.
Further altering the triangular relationship she has established among herself as subject, audience as participatory witness, and abjected icons of American space exploration, Anderson playfully manipulates simple video technology in order to defy notions of a familiar physics concept: gravity. Her challenge to physics provokes audience members to increase their engagement with socio-scientific government actions. Towards this end, she performs a spacewalk that introduces NASA’s innovative space suits as war machines.
n this sequence, Anderson uses a live-feed video camera to create a performance of weightlessness. “Our moon is just the moon,” she muses as she switches the camera on and focuses it toward herself, the audience visible within the camera’s frame. She holds the camera upside-down so that her projected image appears to be floating on the space of the stage, also upside-down, with a stage light shining like a sun behind her disembodied head, which bobs gently in accord with the movement of her live body. The camera captures some of the tea candle stars on the stage, and in an instant doubles the amount of “space” represented through the handheld projection device. Through this fragmented stage presence, Anderson raises the issue of gravity, verbally reflects on the experience of seeing old photographs of astronauts “suspended, floating in space” during her residency at NASA, and imagines what it must be like to walk on the moon.
As she begins to perform her spacewalk, Anderson describes the technology built into NASA’s new spacesuits that will, according to Anderson, “increase your strength, say, forty times.” The suits contain all kinds of “liquids” and “entry points for medicine.” The super-suit project’s contract has been transferred from NASA to a “new joint team” between MIT and the U.S. Army. The suits will not be worn by astronauts but will be sent “out into the desert. Out into the world.” Her criticism resonates with Parker-Starbuck’s assertion that “how bodies are modified and by whom are the ethical concerns that surround what already is, and will continue to shape both humans and non-humans alike.”
The illusion of space persists as the audience is presented with the live Anderson playing her violin beside the projected, more intimate, close-up image of her face. Quantum Anderson twins are separated by the space of the stage and connected by the electromagnetic force that powers her performance technologies, all in support of the artist’s efforts to transduce the hidden nature of NASA for the general audience.

The show closes with a monologue in which Anderson imagines the end of time with a mixture of theories of quantum physics, dream sequences, and, of course, the haunting musical accompaniment of her electric violin. She offers a parting comment on the hybrid nature of human cognition at the dawn of the quantum age: “Sometimes, I think I can smell light,” a suspicion that resonates with her earlier human frustration with the inadequacy of transductive technologies to replicate original conditions of deep-space phenomena. Here, she suggests that such previously undetectable information is accessible by means of our extended and imaginative posthuman state.

(According to Vivian Appler, Moonwalking with Laurie Anderson: The Implicit Feminism of The End of the Moon, The Journal of American Drama and Theatre, Volume 28, Number 2, Spring 2016)

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