Sunday, October 24, 2010

OSCILLATIONS: "O Superman" by Laurie Anderson

It seems ironic that the vocoder,  a device originally created for scrambling wartime communications would be used years later as an hypnotic aural symbol suggesting the dominance of technology over the individual,  the politics of control,  and the failure of meaningful communication in the face of this "Big Science".  It now seems prescient in terms of our ongoing embrace of technology and its accompanying information overload,  an avalanche made utterly meaningless by "places" such as Facebook, Twitter,  and My Space.  Is that where we feel most alive? Now that's an unfortunate question. "O Superman"  (an unlikely hit in the UK) was included on  BIG SCIENCE (1982),  an album that begins with a plane crash,  and continues a winding journey to the present of "here come the planes / they're American planes",  a scary scenario that includes our acceptance of military aggression without questioning intention,  the tragedy of 9/11,  and the loss of America as a "real" place.

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