Me and You

SylvieSaw Miranda July’s movie Me and You and Everyone We Know, which has been the recipient of numerous awards. Very interesting and thought-provoking. Slightly sad, yet happy. Really made me think. People who are suspicious of gallery dealers and museum curators  and think of them only as serious figures who wear black and don’t smile, will appreciate July’s rendition of the stereotype.

Visit the Web site even if you don’t see the film. Terrific, haunting soundtrack! You can also visit the filmmaker’s blog.

I first came across July, a conceptual and performance artist (and now feature filmmaker), at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. She–or, rather, her followers–were exhibiting Learning to Love You More . It’s part of a Web site created in 2002 along with Harrell Fletcher as “an ever-changing series of exhibitions,
screenings and radio broadcasts presented all over the world.” Visitors are
given assignments, which they can choose to accept or bypass. Completed
assignments are then posted online and, in some cases, exhibited at various
venues. BMoCA signed on to exhibit assignments
#16, “Make a paper replica of your bed,” and #29, “Video five seconds going
down Boulder Creek, or the next best thing.” (I love that: "the next best thing"!)

After visiting the website and reading about the projects, I
wanted to know more than the names of the people who followed the assignments.
Part of the intrigue of the Internet is connecting with all kinds of people in
all kinds of places that you would never otherwise meet: shrinking the world,
if you will. The artists are to blame for this omission, but I think the
project would be much stronger if the focus extended beyond the assignments
themselves to the implications of a virtual zeitgeist.

What
does it mean that people all over the world are creating the same thing at the
same time? What does it mean when we follow directions of others? Does it mean
we can no longer think for ourselves? Or, as the Learning to Love You More
site suggests on the “hello” page, does “the prescriptive nature of these
assignments [liberate] you from creativity and [allow you to] focus on what you
are feeling and experiencing”? I want to know. I am still unclear whether I am
witnessing a successful art event, communication mechanism, therapy project, or
combination of all three.

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