Artists & Galleries

Laurie Anderson Adds Virtual Reality to Artistic Milieu

Video performance, drawings and VR create unique experience at Guild Hall.

East Hampton resident Laurie Anderson is quintessentially a storyteller, narrating through language, technology, visual imagery and electronic music.

Her work has constructed evocative narratives that transport viewers to a visual realm since she began pursuing performance art in the 1970s.

The Laurie Anderson exhibition at Guild Hall in East Hampton provides guests with the opportunity to experience three of her mediums at once: video performance, drawing, and virtual reality (VR). Curated by Christina Strassfield, the exhibition is open through July 22.

Included in the exhibition are various pieces of Anderson’s spoken word and on-stage performances such as Heart of a Dog, Carmen, What You Mean We?, Hidden Inside Mountains, Home of the Brave and Six PSAs she wrote, performed and directed.

RELATED: Laurie Anderson Discusses ‘Heart of a Dog’ at Guild Hall

The subject of Heart of a Dog, Anderson’s late pet Lolabelle, is also featured in a piece in the exhibition, “Lolabelle in the Bardo.” A practicing Buddhist, Anderson imagined her dog in the Bardo— a place where, according to The Tibetan Book of the Dead, all living things must spend 49 days in preparation for reincarnation.

The artist’s large, 120 x 168-inch, charcoal drawings depicting Lolabelle’s journey are impressive in scale and emotional depth.

Laurie Anderson headshot
Laurie Anderson, Photo: Courtesy Guild Hall

Anderson only recently started working with virtual reality through her VR collaborator, Hsin-Chien Huang. Her work takes storytelling to the next level, creating a total aural and visual atmosphere that enables participants to experience the sensation of flying, traveling through solid surfaces, and entering an imaginary space or scenario.

In her VR piece, Chalkroom, viewers fly through an enormous structure made of words, drawings and stories. Once guests enter they are free to roam and fly. Words sail through the air as emails, fall into dust, and form and reform. Chalkroom won Best Virtual Reality Experience at the 74th Venice International Film Festival.

A second VR piece, Aloft, gives the participant the sensation of being in an airplane that comes apart. They find themselves suspended in the air with plane components floating around them as they enter a blue abyss.

Anderson’s unique vision of life brings a new perspective to art and storytelling and offers an unforgettable experience in this virtual realm.

Admission to Laurie Anderson is free, however you must reserve a 15-minute time slot if you wish to experience Chalkroom or Aloft. You must make separate reservations for each show, and each reservation is for one individual.

Guild Hall is located at 158 Main Street in East Hampton. For more info, visit guildhall.org or call 631-324-0806.

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