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Laurie Anderson in the Believer
January 8, 2012 6:58 PM   Subscribe

"Five thousand years from now—let’s say we didn’t find the God particle. We’re still looking. I think we probably won’t be making things of the nature that we are now. I think we’ll just be trying to appreciate things more. Maybe we’ll design better ears. I mean, our hearing’s crappy. We’ll have huge ears and we’ll be able to tune in to Mars, or we’ll have a hundred lenses through which we can look onto the surface of Mars with our so-called “bare eyes,” or look through our hands. We’ll be able to be in the present more effectively." The Believer interviews Laurie Anderson.
posted by latkes (25 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
Bonus link, Alain de Botton, mentioned in this interview, and his TED talk about success.
posted by latkes at 7:00 PM on January 8, 2012


LOVE. HER.
posted by wemayfreeze at 7:19 PM on January 8, 2012


<3 Laurie Anderson.
posted by SansPoint at 7:33 PM on January 8, 2012


What a great read. Thanks for posting. So much of what I listen to today us made by people who owe a debt of gratitude to Laurie. She is just so very cool.
posted by 4ster at 7:44 PM on January 8, 2012


Born in Chicago in 1947, Anderson quickly found her place in the experimental art scene of 1970s SoHo

Quickly? It took her over twenty years!!
posted by grog at 7:55 PM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I sat directly behind Ms. Anderson at an Antony concert about eight years ago. She was naturally with husband Lou Reed, whose face looked like he was wearing a wet paper sack over it. She looked relatively good, though, and they both seemed humbly gracious and genuinely appreciative towards the fans that approached them. Made for a great celebrity watching experience.
posted by item at 8:15 PM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was visiting with an old girlfriend who was attending Pratt Institute, in Brooklyn, in 1977. She showed me all the groovy art scene in NYC, including a show in a small gallery in, I think, SOHO. Black and white photographs lined the walls with numbers and maybe titles under them. Very stark. The number under each photograph related to the number of a tune on a great old jukebox in the corner. You picked a photo you like, dropped a quarter into the jukebox, pushed that number and a song that may or may not have had anything to do with the photo would play. I have always remembered one tune, or at least the title, "It ain't the bullet that hurts; it's the hole". That was one of Laurie Anderson's early shows, but she was well-known enough already to be asked to speak to a few students at Pratt, and they let me sit in. She mesmerized me. I love her. If she never did anything but write "It ain't the bullet..." and "Language, it's a Virus!" she would have done well.
posted by Hobgoblin at 8:33 PM on January 8, 2012


I don't think you could hear Mars very well, even if you had big ears.
posted by gyp casino at 9:42 PM on January 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


BLVR: A lot of your work is about interconnectedness and giving everything a voice, and how everything is vibrationally connected in some way. I was thinking about that, and about the Large Hadron Collider, and about the God particle, and in some ways your work is like “String Theory Live!” It’s like a manifestation of string theory in a lot of ways, and I was thinking about the God particle and wondering, Well, what if they find it and it answers these enormous questions that we all have and struggle with and that we create art about? What if they find it and it’s answered?

That is the dumbest interview question I have ever read.
posted by empath at 9:45 PM on January 8, 2012 [14 favorites]


Yeah, I have to agree with empath. I keep trying to read this, and getting to that question, and having to go wash my mouth out. Either I'm missing something, or the interviewer is.
posted by nat at 10:20 PM on January 8, 2012


O Superman is my ringtone.

I was going to say a lot more, but ah ah ah ah Ah ah ah ah Ah

Ah ah aha

aha ah ah

aha a ah

I was given Let x equal x in that art magazine as a present

ah aha

She signed her book for me (pa rum pum pum pum) at City Lights in San Francisco.

She memorized the letters and painted them all over the page in a random order. It was a performance.

Ah ah haha -- they're American planes. Made in America.

Also, I once heard "Laurie Anderson" paged at Dulles airport.

/Never thought I'd be jealous of Lou Reed.
posted by trip and a half at 10:38 PM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Incredible new powers, she says?

Oh. Superman.
posted by Decani at 10:51 PM on January 8, 2012


Don't ask me to choose who I hate more, Anderson or Botton...(at least Anderson was relevant once, I guess...)
posted by Joseph Gurl at 11:43 PM on January 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Suggestion noted.
posted by Rat Spatula at 12:08 AM on January 9, 2012


Can we stop saying 'God particle' please? It's a stupid term invented by media types who don't understand the science.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 1:25 AM on January 9, 2012


GallonOfAllan, I'm a media type who did a physics degree. I'm OK with the term God particle. Why? Because its memorable, captures the public imagination and gets the man in the street interested in science in a way that's pretty rare these days. Of course it's dumbing down. But this kind of thing needs dumbing down for, well, almost everyone.
posted by rhymer at 1:33 AM on January 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


O mom and dad.
posted by crunchland at 2:15 AM on January 9, 2012


'God particle' isn't just dumbing down, it's misleading. Ask almost anyone who calls it that what they think it actually is, and they'll almost certainly tell you that they have no idea.

(Sort of similar to the whole 'Mitochondrial Eve' situation, although the scientist involved in the theory coined that one. 'So you mean Adam and Eve were real?!')
posted by anaximander at 2:59 AM on January 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


'God particle' isn't just dumbing down, it's misleading. Ask almost anyone who calls it that what they think it actually is, and they'll almost certainly tell you that they have no idea.

Apparently the guy who came up with the name had originally wanted to call it the "goddamn particle" but was convinced to change the name (reference here).
posted by klausness at 3:42 AM on January 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sad to hear about her dog Lolabelle.

Some neat Laurie Anderson videos:

Describing the experience she had after hitchhiking to the magnetic north pole (!).

Giving a tour of her home studio (part 2) in the late '80s.

Mach 20

Laurie asks a question...you can see her apartment (or studio?) and dog, presumably Lolabelle.
posted by soy bean at 3:52 AM on January 9, 2012


Because its memorable, captures the public imagination and gets the man in the street interested in science in a way that's pretty rare these days. --- And the existence of both is pretty much a matter of faith.
posted by crunchland at 4:31 AM on January 9, 2012


Don't ask me to choose who I hate more

It never even occurred to me, I assure you.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:10 AM on January 9, 2012


I went up to [Andy Kaufman] and said, “I love what you’re doing,” and I became his sidekick. I followed him around for a couple of years and did his straight-man stuff in his clubs.

Good god, what I wouldn't give to have seen that ...

Also, just because I love it: Born Never Asked
posted by Len at 6:59 AM on January 9, 2012


at least Anderson was relevant once, I guess...

This sentiment is probably what I hate most about our celebrity culture. We all want to grind axes and be the arbitter of relevance. There is an ethereal standard that for some reason needs to be maintained.
If someone with a body of work like Anderson's can be diminished and attacked, what does that say about the worth we place on the rest of us in this thread, and people in our everyday lives?
Does someone need to maintain a Madonna or Lady Gaga cultural stature consistently, or can we all go on with our lives and producing whatever we produce and still maintain relevancy to our own spheres?

Anderson might not be relevant to you. ( and I might not be relevant to you.) But to take offense that someone would dare find her relevant enough to speak with her and publish that is pretty gross.
posted by Theta States at 7:11 AM on January 9, 2012 [16 favorites]


Theta States: I don't mean relevant as a celebrity or relevant because of name recognition or anything remotely like that. I mean her music/performance "art" has not been relevant to the forward-looking areas of those art forms in decades. Much like Lou Reed. And I assure you I took no "offense." Just calling it like I see it. Nothing to be salty about, kill yr idols, etc., &c.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:50 PM on January 9, 2012


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