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  • Thursday, November 7, 2019
    Laurie Anderson Guest Curates 2020 New Zealand Festival
    Ebru Yildiz

    Laurie Anderson is a guest curator of the 2020 New Zealand Festival of the Arts. She joins fellow guest curators Lemi Ponifasio and Bret McKenzie in selecting works for the event, which takes place at various venues in Wellington from February 21 to March 15. Anderson has programmed a symphonic concert, a virtual-reality experience, an improvisational ensemble, an interactive soundscape, a film screening, and a concert for dogs.

    To the Moon, Anderson's virtual-reality collaboration with Hsin-Chien Huang, opens at the Dowse Art Museum, Lower Hutt, on February 15, and will run daily through June 7. Fifty years after man first landed on the moon, the piece takes participants on a voyage of sight and sound navigating an alternative lunar landscape imagined by Anderson, NASA's first artist-in-residence. "The moon has a very inspiring, dreamlike existence," Anderson says. "Secretly, all I want to do is to let people fly."

    An interactive experience of a different sort, Lou Reed Drones, will be at Lower Hutt Events Centre on Wednesday, March 4 and again on Thursday, March 5. The piece, performed by Lou Reed's guitar technician Stewart Hurwood using Reed's electric guitars, creates a soundscape that is both a tribute to Reed and an invitation to audiences to interact with the unique sounds as they like. "Sit, lay, listen, meditate, sleep, cry, dance, chant, perform Tai Chi," says Hurwood, "whatever they get emotionally from the sounds they can react to."

    Also at Lower Hutt Events Centre on March 4, Anderson and her string ensemble, Greg Cohen, Eyvind Kang, and Rubin Kodheli, and percussionist Shahzad Ismaily, are joined by New Zealand musicians including Horomona Horo for The Calling, an improvisational performance. The Calling takes Anderson's own writing as well as text from Rebel in the Soul: An Ancient Egyptian Dialogue Between a Man and His Destiny, a translation of an ancient discourse between a person and their soul. 

    Two days later, it all comes together as Anderson, the musicians from The Calling, and drones performed by Hurwood present a concert of the songs and texts of Anderson and her late husband and collaborator Lou Reed in Here Comes the Ocean at Michael Fowler Centre on March 6. The piece, titled after lyrics to the Velvet Underground "Ocean," features songs Anderson and Reed have written about the ocean, interpreted, arranged, and merged by the musicians into a new symphonic work.

    The culminating concert of Anderson's curatorship at the festival is her inimitable Concert for Dogs, a free event in Odlins Plaza on March 7. "Bring your whole whānau along to hear Laurie Anderson perform a series of melodies, frequencies, and riffs at this outdoor concert crafted especially for our canine friends," says the festival. "All dogs are welcome, as long as they’re on a leash and play well with others. Barking and wagging tails encouraged!" Following the performance, Anderson's 2015 film Heart of a Dog, will be screened in the plaza. The film, for which Nonesuch released the soundtrack, is a personal essay on joy and heartbreak and remembering and forgetting, at the heart of which is a lament for her late beloved dog Lolabelle. The Times of London says it's "a work of mastery: thought-provoking, smart and incredibly moving."

    Also at the 2020 New Zealand Festival are Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi, who perform music from their new album, there is no Other, at Michael Fowler Centre on March 4.

    For details on all of the events of the 2020 New Zealand Festival and to get tickets, visit festival.nz.

    Journal Articles:Artist NewsOn Tour

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Laurie Anderson Guest Curates 2020 New Zealand Festival

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on November 7, 2019 - 8:00am
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Thursday, November 7, 2019 - 08:00
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Laurie Anderson is a guest curator of the 2020 New Zealand Festival. She joins fellow guest curators Lemi Ponifasio and Bret McKenzie in selecting works for the event, which takes place in Wellington from February 21 to March 15. Anderson has programmed a symphonic concert, a virtual-reality experience, an improvisational ensemble, an interactive soundscape, a film screening, and a concert for dogs. Also at the festival are Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi, performing from their album there is no Other.

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Laurie Anderson is a guest curator of the 2020 New Zealand Festival of the Arts. She joins fellow guest curators Lemi Ponifasio and Bret McKenzie in selecting works for the event, which takes place at various venues in Wellington from February 21 to March 15. Anderson has programmed a symphonic concert, a virtual-reality experience, an improvisational ensemble, an interactive soundscape, a film screening, and a concert for dogs.

To the Moon, Anderson's virtual-reality collaboration with Hsin-Chien Huang, opens at the Dowse Art Museum, Lower Hutt, on February 15, and will run daily through June 7. Fifty years after man first landed on the moon, the piece takes participants on a voyage of sight and sound navigating an alternative lunar landscape imagined by Anderson, NASA's first artist-in-residence. "The moon has a very inspiring, dreamlike existence," Anderson says. "Secretly, all I want to do is to let people fly."

An interactive experience of a different sort, Lou Reed Drones, will be at Lower Hutt Events Centre on Wednesday, March 4 and again on Thursday, March 5. The piece, performed by Lou Reed's guitar technician Stewart Hurwood using Reed's electric guitars, creates a soundscape that is both a tribute to Reed and an invitation to audiences to interact with the unique sounds as they like. "Sit, lay, listen, meditate, sleep, cry, dance, chant, perform Tai Chi," says Hurwood, "whatever they get emotionally from the sounds they can react to."

Also at Lower Hutt Events Centre on March 4, Anderson and her string ensemble, Greg Cohen, Eyvind Kang, and Rubin Kodheli, and percussionist Shahzad Ismaily, are joined by New Zealand musicians including Horomona Horo for The Calling, an improvisational performance. The Calling takes Anderson's own writing as well as text from Rebel in the Soul: An Ancient Egyptian Dialogue Between a Man and His Destiny, a translation of an ancient discourse between a person and their soul. 

Two days later, it all comes together as Anderson, the musicians from The Calling, and drones performed by Hurwood present a concert of the songs and texts of Anderson and her late husband and collaborator Lou Reed in Here Comes the Ocean at Michael Fowler Centre on March 6. The piece, titled after lyrics to the Velvet Underground "Ocean," features songs Anderson and Reed have written about the ocean, interpreted, arranged, and merged by the musicians into a new symphonic work.

The culminating concert of Anderson's curatorship at the festival is her inimitable Concert for Dogs, a free event in Odlins Plaza on March 7. "Bring your whole whānau along to hear Laurie Anderson perform a series of melodies, frequencies, and riffs at this outdoor concert crafted especially for our canine friends," says the festival. "All dogs are welcome, as long as they’re on a leash and play well with others. Barking and wagging tails encouraged!" Following the performance, Anderson's 2015 film Heart of a Dog, will be screened in the plaza. The film, for which Nonesuch released the soundtrack, is a personal essay on joy and heartbreak and remembering and forgetting, at the heart of which is a lament for her late beloved dog Lolabelle. The Times of London says it's "a work of mastery: thought-provoking, smart and incredibly moving."

Also at the 2020 New Zealand Festival are Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi, who perform music from their new album, there is no Other, at Michael Fowler Centre on March 4.

For details on all of the events of the 2020 New Zealand Festival and to get tickets, visit festival.nz.

featuredimage: 
Laurie Anderson 2018 by Ebru Yildiz bw lbws

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