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Don’t Stare At Hunchbacks and Puppets – and other things I learned from Laurie Anderson

Submitted by on August 4, 2009 – 12:18 pmNo Comment
Laurie Anderson LongHouse co-president Dianne Benson

Laurie Anderson & LongHouse co-president Dianne Benson

The very definition of hip, artist Laurie Anderson spoke as a guest of the LongHouse Reserve in East Hampton on Friday, entertaining the crowd with her fascinating world view and startling wit.   How better to spend a night thank hearing about art in an artistic setting.

There was much to learn from this acclaimed multi-media artist who never has a rut.  She’ll continually put herself in situations where she has no idea what to do like working at McDonalds or on an Amish Farm with zero technology, although she admits it rarely conforms to what you expect.

A contemplative camping trip down the Green River was one such adventure where group leaders gave out their own unique set of life instructions: Don’t stare too long at hunchbacks or puppets.  Don’t pretend to have something in your hand that you don’t.  And don’t shit too close to the camp site.  The last one the only difficult rule to follow.


Anderson spoke about her experience as the first artist in residence at NASA.  In a true therapist mode she asked what that meant to them and they asked what it meant to her.  After spending time with nanotechnologists and watching a spacecraft land on Mars, she surprised her hosts, especially being a sophisticated multi media tech artist, that in the end her reaction was a long poem. 

In terms of what art and science have in common, she confessed, neither knows what they are looking for.


LongHouse, home of Jack Lenor Larsen

It was fascinating to learn that NASA has a 10,000 year time line for the greening of Mars to make it habitable.  The 5,000 year time line is to move manufacturing off Earth.  But in international court China claims they own the moon even though the Russians said they were there first, the American said they had the first man there, and the Italians said they saw it first.

Anderson also described working with the Japanese on gardens for the International Expo, admitting it was hard to keep up with such hard workers – their first meeting was held at baggage claim.  Garden in Japanese apparently means setting stone and there are very set ideas.  Luckily she offered her rejected ideas to the audience, available for our use.  Personally I loved the haiku sticks and plan to add them to my roses.

As soon as I can get out of my own rut and sign up for haiku class.

Pictures Courteous of LongHouse Reserve

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