Laurie Anderson critic of "Home of the Brave"

Essay by implosion3A+, February 2003

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Performance art can be understood as a critique of the radically different representations of what culture considers "real". Out of combinations of narrative, movement, and sound, "real" experiences borrowed from mass media culture are re-constructed commentaries on signification, gender, and communications technology. In performance, every action is part of an overall investigation of music and art.

Laurie Anderson creates her unique composition with visual stylishness in her multi-media theatrical event called "Home of the Brave". The musical show consists of ambient sound, spoken word narration, songs, and dance. Many times she uses a synthesizer to alter her voice to what seems like the male voice of authority. The performance features the use of various film clips, animated images and words which are projected onto a large screen behind the musicians. It highlights a mix of seemingly random ideas and images that are humorous and raise questions for the viewers as well.

Home of the Brave, Laurie Anderson's film of 1986, specifically targets explorations into what is considered avant-garde and mass-culture performance. Experimenting with sound, language, movement, and received ideas in popular culture, Her blending of media in conjunction with her referencing of popular, technological, and world cultures invites the viewer to experience Anderson's thought process. Lines between such dualities as man/woman, music/typography, artist/viewer, and avant-garde art/popular entertainment purposely are placed out of focus.

Without the innovative breakthroughs contributed by both Steina and Woody Vasulka, the pieces done by Laurie Anderson would never had a chance to come about. The Vasulka's have paved the way in technological incorporations into the mediums of art and music through what almost seems like a scientific method. The legacy left by them has inspired artists such as Laurie Anderson, to further use these creative means as though they were tools in order...