Laurie Anderson
Interviewed by John Papageorge

Multimedia and multitalented artist Laurie Anderson doesn't use technology as a means to an end. Rather, she uses it, in simple ways, to convey emotions and ideas. Fans of her more avant-garde musical work may be surprised to know that a homemade pencil sketch appeals to her just as much as a voice-manipulating synthesizer.

So what artistic sensibilities does Anderson think will translate to the Web?

"It's impossible to predict anything," insists the spiky-haired waif. "I think artists who are attracted to working on the Net will obviously adjust their work to the capabilities of a very small screen."

Anderson, who as a starving college student published a children's book titled The Package, has cast herself in many artistic roles over her career. She has composed music for films by Wim Wenders and Jonathan Demme and for dance pieces by Trisha Brown, Molissa Fenley and others. She has also created works for National Public Radio, The BBC and Expo '92 in Seville, Spain, and she has written several symphonies.

Whimsical and gentle even as a child, Anderson, a self-proclaimed nerd, would arrive to school early to feed the resident fish and spent her free time by herself reading. Understanding Anderson's delicate nature, it's somewhat amusing to note that Lou Reed, rock 'n' roll's roughest and grittiest purveyor, is her boyfriend.

"I think he's probably made me a little tougher," Anderson says, laughing. "It's almost the opposite thing that he's learned from me. I'm kind of like, 'You don't have to say that straight out. You could take another turn around before you do it.'"

Anderson believes other artists should take time out from their routines to examine higher plains of artistic relevance. She's currently planning a five-year-long artistic project that will employ her various talents. In addition, she continues to work on cyber events for the Internet and contributes to her Web site at http://www.voyagerco.com


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