16 May 2016

Laurie Anderson – Language of the Future at Moogfest

The iconic storyteller, songwriter, performer, purveyor of voice-altering mechanics, and first ever artist-in-residence at NASA, Laurie Anderson will take Moogfest-goers on one of her explorations, this time into the world of humanistic communication and information, one that crosses physical planes and unconscious realms of reality.

Filmed in 1984, no irony there, Anderson narrates the story behind “Language of the Future,” as the passenger on a plane describes another young passenger who “was speaking an entirely different language. Computerease. A kind of a high-tech lingo. Everything was circuitry. Electronics. Switching.”

The video is perfect in its imperfection, showing fuzzy shades of silver, blue, black and gray as Anderson continues to describe the teenager’s vernacular, saying the relationship with the girl’s boyfriend was ‘Digital,’ meaning, “It was on again, off again, two things, switching…current runs through bodies, and then…it doesn’t.”

Anderson’s body of work has continuously pushed the boundaries of thought, artistic experimentation, and how stories are expressed and experienced by both the deliverer and the recipient. Most recently, she used the medium of film once again, but this time to travel down the path of love, death, life, and loss, in tribute to her beloved rat terrier, Lollabelle, but also as a life reflection piece. “Heart of a Dog,” received numerous accolades from the New York Film Festival, Telluride, and Venice film festivals, and can currently be seen on HBO in the US.

Last week Anderson visited the BBC Radio 6 Music Studios to appear on Lauren Lavern’s show, discussing her involvement in this year’s Brighton Festival as a guest director.

HEART OF A DOG (Trailer) from filmswelike on Vimeo.

"Heart of a Dog" was released in UK theatres last Friday, and in conjunction with the Brighton Festival and the film, she pulled together a concerts for dogs, “And a Noah’s Ark for dogs showed up,” she told Lavern. “We had beautiful, gigantic Afghans to yappy, pocket dogs. It was just a blast.” It had been a dream of hers to perform to an audience of dogs. To see a sea of puppy dog faces looking back at her. “I thought, I’m going to actually make that happen.”

Reflecting on her life with Lou Reed, that subject of language emerged during the interview, "Words helped us both to be in the world." Quite the understatement.

As part of Moogfest's Future of Creativity series, Laurie Anderson will be returning to the US from the UK for her "Language of the Future" performance, Saturday May 21, 4:30pm - 6:00pm, at Carolina Theatre, Fletcher Hall.

On Sunday, May 22, also at Fletcher Hall from 2:00pm to 4:00pm, Laurie Anderson will converse with musician Jana Hunter from Lower Dens, discussing the various facets of technology, her career, past and present, and what the future may hold.

Moogfest runs May 19 - 23 at various venues throughout Durham. Go to www.moogfest.com for more information, schedule, and tickets.

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