Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Ce qui m'inspire en ce moment... Miranda July

My latest creative inspiration is the artist/writer/film-maker/actress/performer/creative-force-of-nature Miranda July.

Here she is peering at you through strange wooden spectacles...

image via Sans Pareil

It all began a couple of weeks ago when I watched her film Me and you and everybody we know. (For a plot summary, or to watch the trailer, click on the link.) It's a rather strange, surreal film full of weird moments between strangers, friends and families in a small suburban neighbourhood. It tells a tale of the difficulty of making a connection with the people around you, and takes you into the world of some pretty strange, aloof outsiders. It wasn't so much the plot itself that made me sit up and pay attention, but rather the clever way that certain scenes appear at first to be nothing but an awkward conversation, but subtly become so much more than that. It hints at the huge abyss of emotion that lies just out of touch that some people can tap into and other people shy away from.
This is probably my favourite scene, where a street becomes a metaphor for a whole relationship, a whole life...
(Also, the film just looked beautiful,so top marks for cinematography too)

Anyway, so when the film finished I was hungry for more of this kind of thing. I looked up the film on
IMDB which is when I discovered who Miranda July is. She stars in the film but she also wrote it. Ooh. Not just a pretty face this one :) Clicking on some links I discovered that she has another film coming out soon called The Future. It's out already in America but doesn't get released until October here in the UK. All I can see for now is the trailer....

Doesn't it look weird and wonderful?? I'll be watching this one in a cinema near me in the future (ha! did you see what I did there?)

I continued on my merry googling way, intent on finding out more about this Miranda July film-maker lady. Sure enough, I came across her website which gave me that tingly weird feeling of déja vu. I had been to this corner of the internet before! I don't know when or how or why but I had! And suddenly I was remembering things. Things like pillow case art such as this which once upon a time you could buy here, but not anymore...

YES! Miranda July was the same lady who made amazing interative art installations like
Eleven Heavy Things
Here be the blurb from her website which will tell you all about it:

"Eleven Heavy Things, created for the 53rd International Art Exhibition at the Venice Biennale, is comprised of eleven sculptural works installed in an enclosed garden within Giardino delle Vergini. The cast fiber-glass, steel-lined pieces are designed for interaction: pedestals to stand on, tablets with holes for body parts, and free-standing abstract headdresses. A series of three pedestals in ascending height, The Guilty One, The Guiltier One, The Guiltiest One, ask the viewer to ascribe their guilt relative to the people around them. A large flat shape, hand-painted with Burberry plaid, hovers on a pole, waiting to become someone’s aura. A series of tablets invite heads, arms, legs and one finger: This is not the first hole my finger has been in, nor will it be the last. A wider pedestal for two people to hug on reads, We don't know each other, we’re just hugging for the picture…. "

I love this plinth the most...

(Image via portable.tv)

Another of her art installations, The corridor is built into a corridor and turns it into a sort of art-tunnel-metaphor-for-life with all the questioning and doubting and boredom that goes on in your own mind printed up on the walls to read as you go along it.
Zee blurb:
"A 125 foot hallway lined with fifty wooden signs, hand-painted with text. As the viewer/participant walks down the seemingly endless hall, weaving between the signs, the text acts as an internal voice, “It’s too late to go back now, but the end seems far away…” The “you” in text realizes that you’ll be walking down this hallway for the rest of your life. And like life, the hall is filled with indecision, disappointment, boredom and joy – and it does end. "

Whilst it would be lovely to go to a museum and actually walk through the exhibition, it can also be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home if you watch the following video. Are you ready?

The Hallway from The Hallway on Vimeo.

And as if its not enough to make this much film and art goodness, Miranda July has also organised intereactive art projects via the internet. Learningtoloveyoumore.com was a project in which a series of tasks and projects were listed online (they are still there to see) and participants from all over the worlds submitted photos and reports of their completed work. The projects range from simple things like braiding someone's hair, to slightly more complex things like recording the sound that is keeping you awake and writing your life story in less than a day to more abstract personal task like "feel the news" and "draw a constellation from someone's freckles." You can go and browse through people's submissions and even complete the tasks yourself (although you can't upload them to the website anymore). Some of the submitted works have even been made into a book by the same name!

Last but not least, I encourage you to read her collection of short stories,
No one belongs here more than you. They are weird and surreal and this book is perfect for picking up in-between doing things and reading a story. Each one is a little blast of inspiration, or a puzzle to pick apart, the hint of feeling you once had or just something really strange to contemplate as you go about the rest of your day, perspective changed and brightened a little.

I hope that if you've read this that you will go away and investigate the art and films and books of this amazingly creative and productive lady. All I've done is pick out a few of my favourite things that she has done but there is so much more to see and interact with. The many manifestations of her art just go to show that you really can do anything if you set your mind to it and that as much as we might like to pigeon-hole people, it really is possible to break the mould and just create in as many ways as you like!

Who has been inspiring you lately?

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