Artist Laurie Anderson has created an installation using her late musician husband, Lou Reed’s guitars and amps in a sound work which utilises feedback to re-create something “as close to Lou’s music as we can get these days.” The piece will have its UK premiere at the Brighton Festival which is under her direction this year. ‘I’m so happy to be serving as Guest Director of Brighton Festival in its historic 50th year. ‘Our theme of home and place is especially relevant with so many people in the world on the move now looking, like all of us, for a place we can belong. I’ve been part of the Festival several times and it was exciting to watch the city become the heart of so much art. I’m looking forward to being part of it this year.’
Ms Anderson added, “I’ve been part of the festival several times and it is so big and sprawling and exciting and there’s so many different things going on – it really has a kind of celebratory, crazy, art party feel to it. And I love the theme of home and place.” The theme of the festival, which is being held between 7 and 29 May, is home”. Known for the 1981 hit O Superman and her use of technology in her music, Ms Anderson, was NASA’s first artist in residence.
Renowned for her inventive use of technology, Anderson is one of America’s most daring creative pioneers. In roles as varied as artist, composer, poet, photographer, filmmaker, vocalist and instrumentalist, she has been experimenting, creating and challenging audiences all over the world for almost as long as Brighton Festival has existed. Anderson takes the helm as Brighton Festival marks its milestone 50th year of commissioning and producing innovative arts and culture by exploring the theme of ‘home and place’ across its 2016 programme.
Taking inspiration from Anderson’s multidisciplinary career as well as the original intentions of Brighton Festival to celebrate the new and the avant-garde, the eclectic programme – which spans music, theatre, dance, visual art, film, literature and debate – features work from some of the most innovative national and international artists. It includes 54 commissions, co-commissions, exclusives and premieres such as two exclusive performances from ‘folktronica’ pioneer Beth Orton, choreographer and dancer Akram Khan’s new full-length production Until The Lions; and the world premiere of a global collaborative work by Turner Prize-winning British artist Gillian Wearing.
Anderson’s own events include the UK premiere of her unique Music for Dogs, a concert specially designed for the canine ear; a screening of her acclaimed new film Heart of a Dog, described by Anderson herself as: “full of stories about how you make a story . . . nominally a film about me and my dog but really it’s not, it’s about love and language”; an exclusive new performance monologue about place and places called Slideshow; and a freewheeling walk through sonic spaces with fellow musician-composers, pianist Nik Bärtsch and guitarist Eivind Aarset.
Many of Anderson’s interests, passions and achievements are also explored including the UK premiere of Lou Reed Drones, an installation of her late husband’s guitars and amps in feedback mode which she describes as “kind of as close to Lou’s music as we can get these days”; a special screening of critically acclaimed Sans Soleil (Sunless) – an elegiac masterpiece by her favourite director Chris Marker; and a series of events that explore innovation and technology in the arts, including Complicite /Simon Burney’s acclaimed The Encounter and Brighton-based Art of Disappearing’s outdoor adventure The Last Resort.