Friday, October 17, 2014

"Landfall" - Laurie Anderson and the Kronos Quartet

Last weekend, Hannah and I drove to the Wexner Center to experience Landfall. My previous encounter with the Kronos Quartet was watching them behind a screen with Phillip Glass as they performed Dracula in Houston, Texas. I once saw Laurie Anderson perform Live in New York in Vancouver, Washington where not a face in the crowd had dry eyes as she described NYC post 9/11. I could not imagine an event more worth traveling to despite it being a hectic time of the semester.

Surprisingly, Hannah and I were two of the youngest people in the audience (though I envied the ten year old boy who was there with his father). The performance was beyond description and I am still trying to find the words to process what we saw. The core of the story featured Hurricane Sandy and one of the most memorable parts was the finale when Anderson described walking into her studio basement to see keyboards, archival papers, and photographs of her dog floating in brown, murky water. These three sentences were projected on the screen above the Kronos Quartet moments before the show ended: "How beautiful. How magic. And how catastrophic." Those words describe many of Anderson's stories whether or not they are related to a horrific event.

Anderson spoke of a list of millions of animals that are now extinct. As their names and locations last found (remains discovered) scrolled by, one cannot help but think how many more in our lifetime will be added. I am mesmerized with each story Anderson tells of animals, as they often feature disaster. Once, I created an artwork based on her description of birds and I keep wondering if anything will come from this event.

Jacinda Russell, From The Lost Photographs, 2003-2005

Laurie reminded us that human beings were not the only ones that lost their lives the day the airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center. Birds, burning, their bodies seared, also fell to the ground amidst the flesh and debris.

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