Laurie Anderson to Premiere New Stage Show, 'ARK: United States Part 5,' in Manchester in November

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Laurie Anderson will give the world premiere of ARK: United States Part 5, a new live stage work, at Aviva Studios in Manchester, England, November 12–24, 2024. "For a long time I’ve wanted to make a new large-scale work about the United States—a collection of songs and stories about what has shaped this country in the 21st century," she says. "I plan to tell these stories moving through myth, journalism, fable, and TikTok, conjuring alternate realities and stories from my own life. Part ruminations, part long-form poems, ARK will also be a kind of 3D movie."

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Laurie Anderson—whose new album, Amelia, is due August 30 on Nonesuch—will give the world premiere of ARK: United States Part 5, a new live stage work, at Aviva Studios in Manchester, England, November 12–24, 2024, presented by Factory International, the organization behind the biennial Manchester International Festival (MIF).

Fuelled by Anderson’s fascination with humanity’s current reality, ARK: United States Part 5 brings together new music, cinematic imagery, stories, and songs at her largest scale yet. Weaving together multiple threads from her five-decade-long career, ARK is a personal interrogation of where we are now, asking: what has brought us here and how much time do we have left?

Anderson was born in Chicago in June 1947, the same time and place that atomic scientists began the Doomsday clock’s countdown to the midnight of nuclear destruction. Fast forward to the present day and the multiple countdowns that now engulf us: Climate collapse, environmental disaster, and the proliferation of artificial intelligence have all added to a sense of isolation and powerlessness as we retreat further online.

ARK fuses these themes in a new stage show about fear, disaster, preservation, invention, love and escape—from the Biblical Flood to current natural disasters and beyond. Set at a dream-like moment where the data cloud breaks, ARK offers a pause where digital representation and reality are separated, within this brief window, Anderson asks: are we running out of time? Is it too late?

ARK features new music, some of it created with the band Sexmob, as well as songs from throughout her career and a collaboration with Sacred Harp singers from across the country.

Laurie Anderson says: “For a long time I’ve wanted to make a new large-scale work about the United States—a collection of songs and stories about what has shaped this country in the 21st century. I plan to tell these stories moving through myth, journalism, fable, and TikTok, conjuring alternate realities and stories from my own life. Part ruminations, part long-form poems, ARK will also be a kind of 3D movie.”

In the 1980s, Anderson presented the multimedia epic United States Parts 1–4, which mixed music, photography, film, and drawings to explore contemporary America, first performed as a six-hour live performance at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1983. In 2024, the year of a momentous US election, she completes this work with a brand new creation which explores how the world might need to be reconfigured in order to be saved.

John McGrath, Artistic Director and Chief Executive, Factory International says: “The brilliant Laurie Anderson has been part of our journey with Aviva Studios since 2017 when she hosted the groundbreaking ceremony for the building.  Along the way she presented her beautiful VR work To The Moon in the 2019 festival, and then started working with us on ARK, a mind-expanding combination of her visual, musical, storytelling and theatrical worlds. The outcome will be a beautiful way to celebrate the first year in our new building—a space for artists to explore their most exciting ambitions.”

You can find more information and tickets here.

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Laurie Anderson: 'ARK: United States Part 5,' November 2024
  • Wednesday, July 10, 2024
    Laurie Anderson to Premiere New Stage Show, 'ARK: United States Part 5,' in Manchester in November
    Ebru Yildiz

    Laurie Anderson—whose new album, Amelia, is due August 30 on Nonesuch—will give the world premiere of ARK: United States Part 5, a new live stage work, at Aviva Studios in Manchester, England, November 12–24, 2024, presented by Factory International, the organization behind the biennial Manchester International Festival (MIF).

    Fuelled by Anderson’s fascination with humanity’s current reality, ARK: United States Part 5 brings together new music, cinematic imagery, stories, and songs at her largest scale yet. Weaving together multiple threads from her five-decade-long career, ARK is a personal interrogation of where we are now, asking: what has brought us here and how much time do we have left?

    Anderson was born in Chicago in June 1947, the same time and place that atomic scientists began the Doomsday clock’s countdown to the midnight of nuclear destruction. Fast forward to the present day and the multiple countdowns that now engulf us: Climate collapse, environmental disaster, and the proliferation of artificial intelligence have all added to a sense of isolation and powerlessness as we retreat further online.

    ARK fuses these themes in a new stage show about fear, disaster, preservation, invention, love and escape—from the Biblical Flood to current natural disasters and beyond. Set at a dream-like moment where the data cloud breaks, ARK offers a pause where digital representation and reality are separated, within this brief window, Anderson asks: are we running out of time? Is it too late?

    ARK features new music, some of it created with the band Sexmob, as well as songs from throughout her career and a collaboration with Sacred Harp singers from across the country.

    Laurie Anderson says: “For a long time I’ve wanted to make a new large-scale work about the United States—a collection of songs and stories about what has shaped this country in the 21st century. I plan to tell these stories moving through myth, journalism, fable, and TikTok, conjuring alternate realities and stories from my own life. Part ruminations, part long-form poems, ARK will also be a kind of 3D movie.”

    In the 1980s, Anderson presented the multimedia epic United States Parts 1–4, which mixed music, photography, film, and drawings to explore contemporary America, first performed as a six-hour live performance at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1983. In 2024, the year of a momentous US election, she completes this work with a brand new creation which explores how the world might need to be reconfigured in order to be saved.

    John McGrath, Artistic Director and Chief Executive, Factory International says: “The brilliant Laurie Anderson has been part of our journey with Aviva Studios since 2017 when she hosted the groundbreaking ceremony for the building.  Along the way she presented her beautiful VR work To The Moon in the 2019 festival, and then started working with us on ARK, a mind-expanding combination of her visual, musical, storytelling and theatrical worlds. The outcome will be a beautiful way to celebrate the first year in our new building—a space for artists to explore their most exciting ambitions.”

    You can find more information and tickets here.

    Journal Articles:Artist NewsOn Tour

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