Laurie Anderson’s “From the Air” exhibit at the UMMA is truly one of the most disturbing things on campus you might ever see.

The exhibit is deceptively simple and yet immediately shocking. The piece is held in a small room, no bigger than 10 feet by 10 feet, that is completely pitch black. When you round the corner to enter the room, the only light comes from the five-inch tall hologram of Laurie Anderson sitting in a living room chair accompanied by her dog, also in a chair of her own. But the image is projected onto small clay structures, making the holographic image seem completely 3-D and lifelike.

Projecting an image onto clay is a pretty cool way to display art. But is it also completely freaky to walk into a pitch-black room with only the image of a teeny tiny lifelike person staring you down? Absolutely.

Not to mention that eerie music is playing in the background of Anderson’s speech. Even more unsettling than the music is the faint sound of laughter in the background. And trust me when I say, nothing that the holographic Laurie Anderson said was funny. In fact, she wasn’t even saying anything at all. She was merely telling a story about how she took her dog for a 10-day walk, only to have her dog become the object of a group of vultures’ desires.

The punchline of the story is that the look of fear on her dog’s face is the same look that New Yorkers must have had after 9/11. She says the look of terror comes from the realization that things would never be the same again, not after 9/11. She says at the end of her three minute-long story, “We had passed through a door. And we would never be going back.”

But from the way she tells her story in the pretentious, monotonous way of hers, it’s clear that she thinks she has stumbled onto some great epiphany — like she’s just discovered the Pythagorean theorem or something. Well, this exhibit was certainly no stroke of genius. In fact, it was hardly anything at all.

And yet, if you sit there listening to Laurie Anderson speak for just a second too long, you’ll get sucked in. You’ll become enraptured by her speech, not even realizing what she’s saying to you. You’ll end up listening to the story two, maybe three times without even taking in the words she’s speaking. This must be how cult leaders bring in new followers.

The exhibit will stay up through Aug. 11.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the exhibit was taken down. The article has been corrected to reflect the correct dates for the exhibit.

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