Apr 29, 2011

Current State of Mind of an Universalkünstlerin*

"Today I'm working on a short little poem that I've been thinking about, I have a drawing to finish, and I have a little projection work. This is the kind of hell my life is: doesn't one piece relate to the other one that much. I mean maybe that's great but sometimes it feels little disconnecting. On the other hand, that's just the way things are."

"Do I think art can change the world? I don't have any idea. Politicians can change politics - so can artists? I don't know. I'm a little bit pessimistic at the moment, to tell you the truth."

"The triumph of capitalism, here it is. Okay. One thing to do: get famous, get rich. That's the game. Good luck and see you later." - That's really harsh, and it's in every field in many ways. Artists are the same thing: we are encouraged to compete rather than to cooperate. And that's not a kind of world I dream of living in."

"I'm a journalist at heart. I like to try to see how things really work-- not make it up, not fantasize. That's a very hard thing to tell a story that is true. It's easy to find a good punchline. But everybody knows that most punchlines smell a little bad... they're clever, okay, but if you really try to tell a story: our lives are so messy. They don't have good punchlines, they don't have ways that they end very neatly. I think a lot of people, myself included, would like to find a way to see the world really clearly, not to somebody's punchline or somebody's story but really how do other people do it."

(Four examples of Laurie Anderson's current state of mind, mid April 2011)

Laurie Anderson @ Canal Street, April 2011
Photo by Christian Lehner

Austrian radio FM4 has recently aired Christian Lehner's interview with Laurie Anderson on the occasion of Laurie's upcoming live appearance at the Donaufestival in Krems-an-der-Donau, Austria: on the 5th of May 2011 she will perform 'Transitory Life', a retrospective collection of her past stories.

The conversation touched on subjects like New York City in the 1970s vs. 2010s, record charts, art and politics, the making process of the 'Homeland' album, the linguistics behind its title, the current state of mind of New York City, last year's concert for dogs in Sydney and the origins of 'O Superman' and 'Another Day in America'.

The Laurie Anderson Spezialstunde** was part of 'New York State of Mind', FM4's interview series "on individuals who set up the Big Apple a little crown". More info on the conversation with the Universalkünstlerin (basically the German translation of the interview) and some photos of the session can be found here.

You can listen to the whole programme in FM4's online archive until the 4th of May:

(FYI: don't worry if you missed the programme in the online archive: stay tuned for a stripped-down-and-cut-and-edited version of the interview here.)

* universal artist
** special hour