Laurie Anderson & Asha Srinivasan Case Study (No. 4)

"Take nothing for granted, nothing" -- LA
Laurie Anderson started out a biology major en route to a pre-med degree at Mills College.  In short order, she decided to head to New York City to study sculpture and art history at Barnard College/Columbia. The dream state induced by art history lectures, with vast projected images, inspired her approach to performance incorporating manipulated voice, projections and high and low technology. According to RoseLee Goldberg in her 2000 book Laurie Anderson, Anderson was "always fearless in the face of technology" inventing "new uses for old equipment by taking apart cheap electronic objects found in second hand shops on Canal Street near her loft, and putting the pieces back together again." By the 1970s, Anderson packed her bags with microphones, projectors, slides and a violin and headed to Europe were she performed in small galleries and alternative spaces. The US was slow to embrace her multimedia performances. When her Big Science LP came out on the Warner Brothers label in 1982, she became a pop crossover sensation. Who'd think we'd be seeing a baby listening to the CD version on YouTube and remixes of O Superman in many languages nearly 30 years later? Anderson, a Buddhist, has remained active inventing, performing, exhibiting for four decades. She has collaborated with Brian Eno, Lou Reed among others. The Paul Tschinkel documentary, Laurie Anderson: On Performance from 2001 provides a point of departure for considering how Anderson has combined electronic tinkering in the spirit of Les Paul with the experimental mania of the Fluxus artists, and the power of the voice in storytelling. She has been dubbed the "high-priestess of performance art/rock" and introduced the popular PBS ART 21 Series 1 on "place" in 2001. More recently, she has been commissioned to produce and perform Delusion for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in February. Stay tuned.

Asha Srinivasan, a 21st-century Indian-American composer and Assistant Professor of Music (Theory/Composition/Electronic Music) at Lawrence, performs her compositions at festivals such as the Electroacousitic Juke Joint, Spark and the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music. She considers herself a hybrid person, "I am American, but also Indian." She writes for western instruments and has western training but India has increasing been a source of inspiration for her work.  Her compositions mix traditions, artforms, ideas in her compositions that sometimes take on political issues such as capital punishment and historic personages such as Ghandi.  She strives to get away from technology for technology sake and is instead interested in what technology can do for a musical piece. In the post-Laurie Anderson era, she has collaborated on works that incorporate dance, fixed media, live music, performance and projections.

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