On Laurie Anderson’s Difficult Listening Hour (1984)
Artistic seduction at its best.
Laurie Anderson’s androgynous character. The image is aesthetically chaste: no lace, little skin, no fetish. And yet, this video is essentially sexual. Cheekbones, eyes, and voice.
Intonation: performed prose. Dracula meets church. The evil captivating female eyes and the boyish short cut above seductive cheekbones. Art lives from opposites.
“I came home today, and I opened the door with my bare hands and I said: Hey! Who tore up all my wallpaper samples? Who ate all the grapes? … And this guy was sitting there, and I said: Hey, Pal! What’s going on here? … Who are you?”
In the second part of the video Anderson’s song „O Superman“ starts playing. Comforting melody, irritating image effects – the unfamiliar and eerie.
Laurie Anderson’s video Difficult Listening Hour was screened as part Two Moon July, a multidisciplinary television production featuring experimental video, film, visual art, performance and music. The production was shot at The Kitchen, the famous New York artist-loft and directed by Tom Bowes. Among the participating artists were David Byrne, Dara Birnbaum, Vito Acconci, and Bill Viola. The program aimed at exploring new ways of transmitting art via television. Laurie Anderson performs as her “Soul Doctor“, an androgynous character with a male voice. The bewildering Intro and Anderson’s song „O Superman“ present a symphony of intonation, spoken word, and early electronic sounds. Essentially disturbing/ disturbingly essential therapy.
„You better get ready, ready to go. You can come as you are. You pay as you go.”
Laurie Anderson is a multimedia artist par excellence: voice, sound, installation and performance artist, author and composer. Her musical experiments employing new technology and self-invented instruments have been revolutionizing sound since the 1980s. On the occasion of her Summer tour 2023, we honour this Grand Dame of Sound and the Sensual, art and androgyny.