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violin tape history multimedia

Anderson, Laurie, imaginative American performance artist and composer; b. Chicago, June 5, 1947. Anderson received violin lessons before studying art history at Barnard Coll. (B.A., 1969) and sculpture at Columbia Univ. (M.F.A., 1972), and then had training from the painter Sol Lewitt. From 1973 to 1975 she taught art history at City Coll. of the City Univ. of N.Y. In 1983 she held a Guggenheim fellowship. Renouncing the tradition of conventional modernism, she set for herself a goal of uniting all arts as they once existed in ancient theatrical practice; in doing so, she made use of all available modern techniques, from topical pop to electronics, even making her own body a part of the instrumental combination, playbacking with herself on magnetic tape and projecting images on a screen. In her performances, she combines speech, song, and bodily exertions; she also uses a variety of instrumentations, including a homemade violin activated by a luminous bow made of electronic tape. She has become particularly famous for her multimedia cyber-punk projections, extending the principles of cybernetics to deliberately commonplace movements, behavior, and Ian- guage. Her programmed compositions are mostly improvisations in which she alters her natural voice electronically, making use of vocal glissando, crooning, panting, and heavy aspiration. Her satirical piece New York Social Life uses oriental drum effects; another piece, Time to Go, scored for guitar, violin, and organ, portrays the repeated exhortation of a museum guard to visitors to leave at closing time. In 1976 she gave a successful exhibition of psychomusicurgy at the Berlin Akademie der Kunst. In 1981 her song O Superman (for Massenet) became a genuine hit. In 1983 she produced her grandiose collage epic entitled simply United States, on themes of travel, politics, money, and love. Her book United States was publ. in N.Y. in 1984. On Oct. 3, 1989, she presented a large-scale solo work, Empty Places, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Among her subsequent works, the multimedia pieces Stories From the Nerve Bible (1995) and Songs and Stories from “Moby Dick” (1999) were notable.

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