We Fall Like Light

Ever since I saw the youtube clip of water being manipulated by sound — “Amazing Sound and Water Experiment #2” — I have wanted to make a fountain that would flow backwards. Maybe it’s because I am interested in stories that have a peculiar relation to time and are animated by their opposites.

The Beginning of MemoryThere’s a story in an ancient play about birds called “The Birds.” And it’s a short story from before the world began. From a time when there was no earth- no land. Only air and birds everywhere. Birds making huge patterns in the air. But the thing was there was no place to land. Because there was no land! So they just circled around and around. Because this was before the world began.And the seasons were running and the light was expanding. And the sound was deafening and light was rising and falling. And song birds were everywhere. Billions and billions of birds. And one of these birds was a lark and one day her father died. And this was a really big problem because what should they do with the body? And it was a big questiona new question. There was no place to put the body because there was no earth. And it went on for five or six days and they were all trying to think of what to do with the body. And finally the lark had a solution. She decided to bury her father in the back of her own head. And this was the beginning of memory. Because before this no one could remember a thing. They were just constantly flying in circles. Constantly flying in huge circles.

In ‘05 I worked on Expo in Japan with the landscape designer Shirou M. Wakui who designed the royal gardens in Kyoto. Time has a unique function in his gardens and in the collaborations we did together for Expo. In the Kyoto Royal Gardens for example if you sat in one position for a whole year you would see the color yellow trace a time-lapsed path through the garden. In the early spring the path was made of bright forsythia, then yellow tulips. In the summer the path was continued into the middle distance and was made of yellow roses and in the fall the distant path was made of goldenrod and yellow maples.

We Fall Like Light is designed by a group of designers and builders who all made unique contributions to the fountain and the viewing device: my collaborator Bob Bielecki, and designer/fabricators Jim Keller, Jason Stern and Jim Cass.

—Laurie Anderson


2014 Exhibit. Video by Caryn Waechter.


Laurie Anderson. Photo by Laurie Anderson

Photo by Laurie Anderson

Laurie Anderson

Laurie Anderson is one of America’s most renowned — and daring — creative pioneers. She is best known for her multimedia presentations and innovative use of technology. As a writer, director, visual artist and vocalist she has created groundbreaking works that span the worlds of art, theater, and experimental music.

Her recording career, launched by O Superman in 1981, includes the soundtrack to her feature film Home of the Brave and Lifeon a String (2001). Anderson’s live shows range from simple spoken word to elaborate multimedia stage performances such as “Songs and Stories for Moby Dick” (1999). Anderson has published seven books and her visual work has been presented in major museums around the world.

In 2002, Anderson was appointed the first artist-in-residence of NASA which culminated in her 2004 touring solo performance “The End of the Moon.” Recent projects include a series of audiovisual installations and a high definition film, Hidden InsideMountains, created for World Expo 2005 in Aichi, Japan. 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 São Paulo, Brazil and later traveled to Rio de Janeiro.

In 2011 her exhibition of all-new work titled “Forty-Nine Days In the Bardo” opened at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia. Her piece “Landfall,” a performance with the Kronos Quartet, debuted in February of 2013. She is currently artist-in-residence at CAP in UCLA in Los Angeles, and EMPAC in Troy, New York. Anderson lives in New York City.


Bob Bielecki. Photo by Marcella Robinson

Photo by Marcella Robinson

Bob Bielecki

Bob Bielecki has worked in the media arts field for more than forty years, creating unique instruments and sound designs for installation and performance. He is known for his innovative use of technology to develop distinctive electronic effects and environments and is engaged in ongoing research in psychoacoustics, sound localization, and 3-D audio.Bob Bielecki has worked with many artists including John Cage, Alvin Lucier, La Monte Young and Pauline Oliveros. His association with Laurie Anderson dates from the mid-1970s and he has worked with Stephen Vitiello and Annea Lockwood since the 1980s.

He produced and engineered the groundbreaking media-arts residency program, ZBS/AIR, and helped to pioneer the field of binaural radio. A recipient of grants from the Andy Warhol Foundation and the New York State Council on the Arts, he is an Associate Professor of Music at Bard College and serves on the faculty of the Bard MFA Program.


2014 Installation and Interview. Video by Caryn Waechter.