Aesthetics for Birds

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

Jonathan Neufeld on “Landfall”


Audio clip here

This is entry #20 in our ongoing 100 Philosophers, 100 Artworks, 100 Words Series.

Philosopher: Jonathan Neufeld (College of Charleston)

Artwork: Landfall by Laurie Anderson in performance with the Kronos String Quartet at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, September 27, 2014.

Words: Spoken images of Hurricane Sandy’s rising waters, sparkling black in the night, flowing over a city and into intimate spaces; of air swirling through a flute, its transfiguration into notes recorded by microphones, ears, the space between ears. Projected words flow in time with the Kronos Quartet’s dancing bows, with Laurie Anderson’s voice. That voice. And That Voice. Music circles, repeats, rises, rushes, falls, and dissolves. Each vignette ties meaning to beauty and dissolution. Words are slowly displaced by symbols with unknown referents. The final image of a life’s collected memoria floating in a flooded basement: “How beautiful. How catastrophic.” 

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