Laurie Anderson

Night Picnic


One of the festival’s radio evenings on the picnic blanket has been created by the US American performance artist, musician and film director Laurie Anderson. «Night Picnic» is a collection of songs and stories about picnics, sadness, books, things that listen, parents, happiness, marriages that go wrong, the fascination of the future, war and food. Laurie Anderson was invited to the third Zürcher Theater Spektakel in 1982 with her eight-hour mammoth performance «United States Parts 1-4» which, apart from Zurich, was presented only in London and New York. Since then, she has continuously tried to describe her home country in words and images such as in her new radio formats - something increasingly more difficult given the obvious absurdities.

The artist says:
«‹Night Picnic› is a collection of stories from the middle of a disaster zone, notes from a country that is in a deep dream state, unable to separate real and unreal. Do countries dream?
‹Night Picnic› also includes some strategies for survival, hypnotic experiments  and many stories that are combinations of rumor, history, speculation, false memories, fantasy and idiocy. Das Leben ist kein Picknick. And then again, even a picnic is rarely a picnic.
‹Night Picnic› includes three pieces from ‹Dokument 2›, ‹Quartet for Sol LeWitt› and features Rubin Kodheli.
‹Night Picnic› is dedicated to Hal Willner my great friend and producer and to Germano Celant my friend and curator, both gentle souls who died in the covid plague.

Thanks to Peter Scherer,  Brian Eno, Ebe Oke, Mario McNulty and Rubin Kodheli.»

During the forty years of performing arts history that she shares with the Theater Spektakel, Laurie Anderson’s multi-media works have always stood for experimentation with new forms, formats and languages, as well as pushing the limits of established art forms. Many of her innovations have influenced generations of artists, some of whom have been featured at the festival. Apart from working on her records and books, Anderson has recently created a new work for the stage: «To the Moon», a virtual reality performative installation, which was presented at the Manchester International Festival last year. (mvh)

About the Collective Listenings

Collectively listening to the radio on picnic blankets on the Landiwiese is one of the festival’s answers to the pandemic. Performers and musicians from Beirut, Nairobi, Windhoek, New York and Oslo have developed new audio-formats for summer evenings in Zürich. Two things have always characterised the Theater Spektakel: community and international diversity – both of which are presently close to impossible. And so, we have asked these artists to create projects for an audio format from afar. During these «Collective Listenings» you sit on a picnic blanket with a radio. Together with hundreds of other people, you can listen to songs and stories by the US performance artist Laurie Anderson, a moderated concert of the Lebanese band Mashrou’Leila, a soundscape by the Namibian performer Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja or «Calls of the Hummingbird» told by Ogutu Muraya and three storytellers.

Artistic direction and cast

BildEbru Yildiz



Site map

Songs & Stories


60 mins.



Registration / Seat reservation

mandatory via ticketing (see below)

Protective measure

One «infection community» per picnic blanket is allowed. So, if you buy a ticket just for yourself, no one else will sit on the blanket with you. People living together are asked to reserve a shared blanket (maximum of four people).

Openair event

In case of heavy rain, the concert must be postponed or cancelled. Check and Facebook no later than two hours before at the latest to find out if the performance takes place.



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