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- The Best Reviewed Books of the WeekMay 25, 2018
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In part two of their conversation, Laurie Anderson and Paul Holdengraber talk about the Tibetan afterlife, the power of film, and standing in the snow in Central Park. Listen to part one of their conversation here.
Laurie Anderson on the Tibetan Book of the Dead…
One of the central elements of [Anderson’s film Heart of a Dog] is trying to visualize the Bardo, which is the period the Tibetan Book of the Dead describes as the transitional period when energy gets transformed upon death and how that happens and theories about that. So there are a number of place stories in them, but the biggest place is “up” and “sky” as sky, pure sky. The stories involve both freedom and fear, seeing the sky as a place where you can feel the greatest freedom and which invokes the greatest fear.
Laurie Anderson on playing sports with Anne Carson…
Once I went to Central Park with the poet Anne Carson, who’s a friend of mine, and she said, “Let’s try a new sport, and it’s called Snow Standing.” I said, “Really, what’s that?” She said, “Well, we just stand here, and snow’s on us, and that’s it.” I said, “That sounds really nice, so we just stood there and it was that snowstorm a long time ago, when The Gates [a 2005 site-specific artwork by Christo and Jeanne-Claude] were on in Central Park and we stood there and the snow piled on our heads and our shoulders and the gates were blowing around, and it was really a wonderful sport. I sometimes can’t tell the difference between a sport and a ride, or a sport and a something else. How much effort do you put into it? Of course, you do put in quite a lot of effort to stand still [so] the snow will pile correctly.
Laurie Anderson on her favorite film…
What I love about my favorite films is I feel very different at the end of it than the beginning. I just like that very much. I also like films that are very beautiful, and you see a lot of beautiful things, and it’s over, boom… My favorite film is Miracle in Milan, [by] Vittorio de Sica, probably that. So he goes from sort of dingy despair to ecstasy. As a journey it’s quite a journey and you feel things just get lifted off of you.