Nov 7, 2010

Overlapping Realities: or, Who the Hell Is the Body Artist and Why You Should Experience It

There exists a book titled 'The Body Artist',written by Don DeLillo. But what does this have to do with Files on a String?

  • First, Laurie Anderson herself has got some inclinations for "body art" (see page 109 of the Nerve Bible: 'What Is Body Art?'), mentioning that, in the late '70s, her work was described as (among others) "body art" or "performance art"

  • Amelia Jones writes about Laurie Anderson's body art at length in her book 'Body Art / Performing the Subject', page 32:

  • The body artist in the book's title is named Lauren (Hartke). She lives in New York.

  • In 'Body Time', Lauren's performance piece, there's an "anonymous robotic voice of a tele­phone answering machine delivering a standard announcement" featured prominently, as "sound accom­paniment".

  • Moreover, during the performance above, Lauren dramatically alters her (body and) voice and ends up at speaking in a male voice.

  • Laurie Anderson mentions the writer of the book, Don DeLillo in 'The Cultural Ambassador' (track 17 on 'The Ugly One with the Jewels and Other Stories').

  • Last but not least: in 2001, Laurie Anderson has recorded an unabridged audio version of the book*; it's entirely read by her; which means almost three hours** of pure treat for those who "would listen, enraptured, to Laurie Anderson read the phone book"***.

* Mnemosyne has got her copy from Ebay. Good luck.

** "Three f*cking hours. Why not four? Why not seven? Why not eight? she says" - sorry, I could not resist this citation from 'The Body Artist' by Don DeLillo, page 107.

*** comment by an enthusiastic viewer named mytmyt, under the Youtube video of Laurie Anderson's part in 2004 Dramatic Reading of the U. S. Constitution. Amen.