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Laurie Anderson’s Homeland tour and Long Now

by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander on October 15th, 02008

Laurie Anderson is coming to Berkeley for two performances of her Homeland tour on October 24th and 25th.  The Long Now Foundation is sponsoring these performances thanks to our grant in performing arts from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.  Members of Long Now get a 15% discount on tickets to the shows, (which you should get quickly as they are selling out.)

Back in 01995 before The Long Now Foundation was formed, there were two essays published in the Wired Scenarios issue, one by Danny Hillis on the Millennium Clock, and another by Stewart Brand on human perception and time.  In that essay Stewart quoted a question from Laurie’s most recent album:

“Is time long or is it wide?” -Laurie Anderson

I’d like to know her interpretation of that question. Mine is that time can be thought of in terms of everything-happening-now-and-last-week-and-next-week (wide) or as a deep, flowing process in which centuries are minor events (long). The wide view sees events as most influenced by what is happening at the moment. The long view perceives events as most influenced by history – “much was decided before you were born.” The wide view is disparaged as “short-term thinking.”

The long view is praised as responsible.

– Stewart Brand 01995

These two essays framed the thinking that within another year became The Long Now Foundation. So when we began our Seminar series about long-term thinking in 02003, Laurie Anderson was one of the first people Stewart called.  She immediately said yes, but we have never been able to match schedules in order to get her out to this coast.  But with her Homeland tour, we are lucky enough to finally get her out here.  Laurie is re-framing what we think of ourselves in our place, and most interesting to us, in our time.