Book Review: All The Things I Lost In The Flood
By Ava McLaughlin
“What happens between the time you think about something and the moment you express it?” -Laurie Anderson
All the Things I Lost in the Flood by Laurie Anderson is an extensive volume traversing four decades of Anderson’s long life as an artist including drawing, multimedia installations, performance, and new projects using augmented reality. She wrote this book about what was lost in her life and what she then found in her later years, discovering what it means to live truly in a single moment.
The root of her work, she explains in the essays included in the book, are stories. Stories are the engines of creation and words are what she loves the most about art. This book is about the strategies she uses to put stories and words into art. The essays explore how language relates to images and raises questions pertaining to beauty, time, reality, and memory.
This book is cut into chapters including various topics, such as ice, place, narration, light, film, air, and time. She separates into these chapters based on the concept that place and context influence text. Each chapter is focused on looking at putting language into visual art in forms of instruments, statues, boxes, installations, film, and performance. They each include thought-provoking commentary written by Anderson exploring the influences on language from politics, technology, poetry, and the difference between stories and songs.
Anderson began as a painter and sculptor and went on to draw, create music, installations, film, electronic design, software, opera and theater. Many of her visual works have been represented as pure visual art instead of a collaboration of words, which she wanted. All the Things I Lost in the Flood offers a development of the relationship between pictures, stories, and the codes we use to represent the world.
Anyone with any interest in this prolifically fearless artist will love this survey of her career, which is truly another Laurie Anderson work of art.