Miranda July muses on intimacy and “Satisfaction”


Oh, Miranda July, you are as strange as ever and we love you for it. The bisexual You, Me and Everyone We Know writer/director recently sat down with Dazed Digital and waxed poetic on the intimacy of her work, her recent show at the Venice Biennale and work on an upcoming feature film.

I first experienced July in her Portland days as she pranced oddly in front of live bands showcasing her own brand of eerie performance art. Her work has evolved greatly since the days of the punk rock 7″, but the strangely alluring awkwardness remains in her work to this day.

What makes it as enticing as it is uncomfortable is the intense closeness it evokes. July, herself, is afraid of the level of intimacy:

I am concerned about that but there’s nothing I can really do. I try to push myself towards symbolism, partly for that reason but also that it is liberating. I often write a little reminder that says “move in symbols” so I don’t get too autobiographical. Nonetheless, everything that I can think of that will be coming out in the next couple of years, I feel like I’m throwing myself to the lions. I really could just cry about it, that’s how upsetting it is to me, but I don’t know what to do. Oh well. Everything has its problems.

She shouldn’t be concerned. It is this aspect that makes her and her art so very weird and accessible at the same time. We know there is a real girl with very intense feeling behind every story, scene or sculpture in July’s repertoire. And as scary as it may be for her, she does it anyway. This makes for incredibly powerful art.

She’s not stingy with this power either. Her recent Eleven Heavy Things sculptures at the Venice Biennale invites the viewer to interact with the pieces. In this way you can pose with the art, take a picture and disseminate the artwork, that you have now helped make complete, to a much wider audience than would normally have been exposed to it.

This kind of collaboration has been a large part of July’s process since her stint in Portland in the ’90s, where finding like-minded individuals fueled multiple projects including the Joanie 4 Jackie women’s film exchange.

But July’s most anticipated project is also the one she is most reticent to talk about. It is understandable, since her sophomore feature film has not even started shooting yet and she has much to live up to considering the critical acclaim achieved by her debut Me and You and Everyone We Know.

What I can tell you was when I was making Me And You, I was thinking that with the next one I can’t have all these characters, there’s only so deep you can get with each one. It’s like Peanuts. So the new movie is very focused on a couple and I’m one of them. And it just goes way further. It’s way weirder.

Tentatively titled Satisfaction, you have to wonder how much weirder July can get. I am both excited and a little frightened to find out.

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