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RoseLee Goldberg, Laurie Anderson

Regular price £40.00GBP

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As a major figure rising out of the downtown New art scene of the 1970s, Laurie Anderson has straddled aural and visual art with equal genius to unfold the stories embedded in the effects of media on American cultural and political life as well as on the everyday. In her fifth decade of artistic production, Anderson is the subject of an impressive book by Roselee Goldberg that exemplifies both the value and problems inherent in textual containment of a live form.

The ephemeral and unrepeatable ontology of performance provokes vexed and hotly contested questions around its documentation. Roselee Goldberg's superbly produced eponymous book should be exhibit A in the case for the defence. The documentation of performance involves freezing its flow, rendering it into a series of static artifacts like costumes and photographs strangely cut off from their life. Goldberg makes a valiant and wholly commendable attempt to make the best of what can always only be the curation of the traces of art, rather than art itself in several ways.

First, she organises Anderson's output historically to allow readers to understand it in the context of the development of themes, theatrical techniques, and the evolution of technology Anderson employs so idiosyncratically. Second, with remarkable access to those traces of performance, she includes textual excerpts and songs, Anderson's own designs for body instruments such as the audio glasses she used to amplify the sounds of her own body, as well as sketches for stage sets, and chunks of interviews with the artist. Goldberg also takes time to describe the performance, which--although fraught with the difficulty of translating one medium into another--is too often ignored by archivists and academics. Finally, Goldberg clearly and usefully interprets Anderson's work in the context of aesthetics, society, technology, and culture.

First Edition. Great Condition.