Art or Sound

ARTBOOK | D.A.P.
Jan 5, 2015 7:16PM
Laurie Anderson's Numbers Runners (1979) is reproduced from Fondazione Prada's deluxe doorstopper, Art or Sound—a 520-page examination of works that lie on the boundary of visual art and sound production. "Numbers Runners is an altered public telephone booth. People enter the booth, lift the phone from its hook and hear two voices: Anderson's message on tape and their own words delayed by 3⁄4 of a second. By interacting with the public's input, the telephone booth enables the listener and Anderson to participate in a dialogue. Lapsed-time sequences had already been included in the musical performance New York Social Life (1977), for which Anderson alternates two distinct voices between telephone and microphone, performing the words very rapidly as one long run-on sentence. With this work the artist explores the performing potential of the telephone as a plastic artificial conductor of real relationships between people: '... the question is: Is the phone alive? What's alive and what doesn't have life?"
ARTBOOK | D.A.P.