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Laurie Anderson at The Factory Groundbreaking photo: Tarnish Vision

Laurie Anderson at The Factory Groundbreaking photo: Tarnish Vision

50 years after the Apollo Moon landings, artist Laurie
Anderson will be flying audiences there with the UK premiere
of her virtual reality work, To the Moon, developed with the
artist Hsin-Chien Huang.

Using images and tropes from Greek mythology, literature,
science, sci-fi space movies and politics, To the Moon creates
an imaginary and dark new moon. During the 15-minute
VR experience, the viewer is shot out from earth, walks on
the surface of the moon, glides through space debris, flies
through DNA skeletons and is lifted up the side and then
thrown off a lunar mountain.

Scenes include Constellations which features life forms that
are becoming extinct; DNA Museum in which audiences fly
through the skeletons of dinosaurs which morph into a
Cadillac, in a play on the history of fossil fuels; Technology
Wasteland in which the moon is imagined as a dystopic
dumping ground for plastics and nuclear waste; and Snow
Mountain which takes its inspiration from the plot line of
space adventure movies, where the viewer’s virtual body
dramatically tumbles away into deep space.

Laurie Anderson says:

“What humans can and can’t do in the natural world is
one of the several themes in To the Moon. The piece is
dedicated to the ancient Chinese painter who made a huge
vertical landscape – a painting of a mountain with groves of
pine trees, a steep road winding up to the top, waterfalls,
tiny hikers with walking sticks, thatched bamboo huts,
and fishermen casting their nets in the sea far below. The
painting was very intricate and it took many years to make.
When he finally finished the painting, he walked into it. This
is what we aim to do with To the Moon, allow the viewer to
literally walk into a work of art.”

To the Moon is presented at Manchester International
Festival alongside a new audio-visual installation – a rare
and exciting opportunity to explore Anderson’s ideas in
development as she works towards a new piece which will
premiere at The Factory, the new world-class cultural space
currently being built in the heart of Manchester, operated
by MIF.

Laurie Anderson, To the Moon Manchester International
Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, M2 7DH Friday
12 – Saturday 20 July, 11am to 9pm (timed slots), £5

About The Artist
Laurie Anderson is one of America’s most reknowned –
and daring – creative pioneers. Known primarily for her
multimedia presentations, she has cast herself in roles
as varied as visual artist, composer, poet, photographer,
filmmaker, electronics whiz, vocalist, and instrumentalist.

O Superman launched Anderson’s recording career in
1980, rising to number two on the British pop charts and
subsequently appearing on Big Science, the first of her
seven albums on the Warner Brothers label. Other record
releases include Mister Heartbreak, United States Live,
Strange Angels, Bright Red, and the soundtrack to her
feature film Home of the Brave. A deluxe box set of her
Warner Brothers output, Talk Normal, was released in the
fall of 2000 on Rhino/Warner Archives. In 2001, Anderson
released her first record for Nonesuch Records, entitled
Life on a String, which was followed by Live in New York,
recorded at Town Hall in New York City in September 2001,
and released in May 2002.

Anderson has toured the United States and internationally
numerous times with shows ranging from simple spoken
word performances to elaborate multimedia events. Major
works include United States I-V (1983), Empty Places
(1990), The Nerve Bible (1995), and Songs and Stories for
Moby Dick, a multimedia stage performance based on the
novel by Herman Melville. Songs and Stories for Moby Dick
toured internationally throughout 1999 and 2000. In the
fall of 2001, Anderson toured the United States and Europe
with a band, performing music from Life on a String. She
has also presented many solo works, including Happiness,
which premiered in 2001 and toured internationally
through Spring 2003.

Anderson has published six books. Text from Anderson’s
solo performances appears in the book Extreme Exposure,
edited by Jo Bonney. Anderson has also written the entry
for New York for the Encyclopedia Brittanica and in 2006,
Edition 7L published Anderson’s book of dream drawings
entitled “Night Life”.

Laurie Anderson’s visual work has been presented in
major museums throughout the United States and Europe.
In 2003, The Musée Art Contemporain of Lyon in France
produced a touring retrospective of her work, entitled The
Record of the Time: Sound in the Work of Laurie Anderson.
This retrospective included installation, audio, instruments,
video and art objects and spans Anderson’s career from
the 1970’s to her most current works. It continued to tour
internationally from 2003 to 2005. As a visual artist,
Anderson is represented by the Sean Kelly Gallery in
New York where her exhibition, The Waters Reglitterized,
opened in September 2005. In 2008, the Museum of
Modern Art acquired her “Self-Playing Violin” which was
featured in the “Making Music” exhibition in Fall 2008.

As a composer, Anderson has contributed music to films
by Wim Wenders and Jonathan Demme; dance pieces by
Bill T. Jones, Trisha Brown, Molissa Fenley, and a score for
Robert LePage’s theater production, Far Side of the Moon.
She has created pieces for National Public Radio, The
BBC, and Expo ‘92 in Seville. In 1997 she curated the twoweek
Meltdown Festival at Royal Festival Hall in London.
Her most recent orchestra work Songs for Amelia Earhart.
premiered at Carnegie Hall in February 2000 performed
by the American Composers Orchestra and later toured
Europe with the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra conducted
by Dennis Russell Davies. The piece was performed as part
of the Groningen Festival honoring Laurie Anderson in Fall
2008 with the Noord Nederlands Orkest.

Recognized worldwide as a groundbreaking leader in
the use of technology in the arts, Anderson collaborated
with Interval Research Corporation, a research and
development laboratory founded by Paul Allen and David
Liddle, in the exploration of new creative tools, including
the Talking Stick. She created the introduction sequence
for the first segment of the PBS special Art 21, a series
about Art in the 21st century. Her awards include the 2001
Tenco Prize for Songwriting in San Remo, Italy and the 2001
Deutsche Schallplatten prize for Life On A String as well as
grants from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National
Endowment for the Arts. She recently collaborated with
Bran Ferren of Applied Minds, Inc to create an artwork
that was displayed in “The Third Mind” exhibition at the
Guggenheim Museum in New York in Winter 2009.

In 2002, Anderson was appointed the first artist-inresidence
of NASA which culminated in her 2004 touring
solo performance “The End of the Moon”. Recent projects
include a series of audio-visual installations and a high
definition film, “Hidden Inside Mountains”, created for
World Expo 2005 in Aichi, Japan. In 2007 she received
the prestigious Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize for her
outstanding contribution to the arts. In 2008 she completed
a two-year worldwide tour of her performance piece,
“Homeland”, which was released as an album on Nonesuch
Records in June, 2010. Anderson’s solo performance
“Delusion” debuted at the Vancouver Cultural Olympiad in
February, 2010 and toured internationally throughout 2011.
In 2010 a retrospective of her visual and installation work
opened in Sao Paulo, Brazil and later traveled to Rio de

In 2011 her exhibition of all new work titled “Forty-Nine
Days In the Bardo” opened at the Fabric Workshop and
Museum in Philadelphia. That same year she was awarded
with the Pratt Institute’s Honorary Legends Award. In
January of 2012 Anderson was the artist-in-residence at
the High Performance Rodeo in Calgary, Alberta where she
developed her latest solo performance titled “Dirtday!”
Her exhibition “Boat” curated by Vito Schnabel opened in
May of 2012. She has recently finished residencies at both
CAP in UCLA in Los Angeles and EMPAC in Troy New York.
Her film Heart of a Dog was chosen as an official selection
of the 2015 Venice and Toronto Film Festivals. In the same
year, her exhibition Habeas Corpus opened at the Park
Avenue Armory to wide critical acclaim and in 2016 she
was the recipient of Yoko Ono’s Courage Award for the Arts
for that project. Anderson lives in New York City.

About Manchester International Festival
Manchester International Festival (MIF) is the world’s first
festival of original, new work and special events, staged
every two years in Manchester, UK. MIF launched in 2007
as an artist-led festival presenting new works from across
the spectrum of performing arts, visual arts and popular
culture. The next Festival takes place from 4 – 21 July 2019.

MIF has commissioned, produced and presented world
premieres by artists including Marina Abramovi, Damon
Albarn, Björk, Boris Charmatz, Jeremy Deller, Elbow, Wayne
McGregor, Steve McQueen, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy,
Thomas Ostermeier, Maxine Peake, Punchdrunk, The xx,
Robert Wilson and Zaha Hadid Architects.

These and other world-renowned artists from different art
forms and backgrounds create dynamic, innovative and
forward-thinking new work, staged in venues across Greater
Manchester – from theatres, galleries and concert halls to
railway depots, churches and car parks. MIF works closely
with venues, festivals and other cultural organisations
globally, whose financial and creative input helps to make
many of these projects possible and ensures that work
made at MIF goes on to be seen around the world.

MIF supports a year-round Creative Engagement
programme, bringing opportunities for people from all
backgrounds, ages and from all corners of the city to get
involved during the Festival and year-round, as volunteers,
as participants in shows, through skills development
workshops and a host of creative activities, such as Festival
in My House.

MIF will also be the operator for The Factory, the new
world-class cultural space being developed in the heart
of Manchester, designed by internationally-renowned
architects Rem Koolhaas’ OMA. Due to open in 2021, The
Factory will commission, present and produce a yearround
programme, featuring new work from the world’s
greatest artists and offering a space to make, explore and
experiment. Attracting up to 850,000 visitors, The Factory
will add £1.1 billion to the economy and create 1,500 jobs. Its
pioneering programme of skills, training and engagement
will benefit local people and the next generation of
creative talent from across the city, whilst apprenticeships
and trainee schemes are already underway during the
construction phase.

MIF’s Artistic Director and Chief Executive is John McGrath