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The Hallway
May 28, 2009 7:29 AM   Subscribe

The Hallway by Miranda July.

Ms. July previously on Mefi.
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas (48 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
I turned it off when I had to vow to spend less time online... see y'all...
posted by HuronBob at 7:37 AM on May 28, 2009


Context. It was a 125-foot installation, English in one direction, Japanese in the other, displayed at the Yokohama Triennale 2008.
posted by Plutor at 7:42 AM on May 28, 2009


Wow.

About a third to halfway through, I was beginning to think this whole thing was nice but really pretty prosaic and nothing special. By the time it was over, it was very special indeed.

Something that simple turned into something extremely profound. Thank you for that link and the experience.
posted by Tena at 7:46 AM on May 28, 2009


But I wanted to go 'this way'!
posted by I Foody at 7:46 AM on May 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


I can never get this done in one comment for some reason:

I could clearly see all along where it was going and what it was about. I didn't expect it to have the impact it did at that end. It was extremely well-done; I knew where I was going but it was still amazing when I got there.
posted by Tena at 7:50 AM on May 28, 2009


Nice.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:57 AM on May 28, 2009


1) NSFW
2) Some people read REALLY slowly.
posted by DU at 7:59 AM on May 28, 2009


I love Miranda July.

))<>((

posted by HyperBlue at 8:03 AM on May 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


Neat. I like Miranda. That Me and You movie was a nifty little surprise.
posted by rokusan at 8:04 AM on May 28, 2009


Based on this, and the book, and the movie: I really, really love what Miranda July does.

But I can totally see why some people wouldn't.

And I don't mind, really.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:12 AM on May 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


You find yourself moved. Again. And you're glad, really glad, this is the first thing you looked at today.
posted by xod at 8:46 AM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Pretty neat. I was trying to decide whether it would be better with a little musical number to go along with it, but then it would lose the random ambient sounds of hallway some of which were like the Bongs of a gchat so I switched over to that tab and was disappointed.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:06 AM on May 28, 2009


dunno, too twee and hackneyed for me.
posted by limon at 9:08 AM on May 28, 2009


Had its moments, but overall I'm with limon. Then again, I've never much seen what all the fuss was about regarding Miranda July.

Anonymous internet criticism aside, did this remind anyone else of a particular scene from You, Me and Everyone We Know? It was when the man and woman met and walked to his car. As they went along they recited the path of their lives and their relationship.
posted by elwoodwiles at 9:26 AM on May 28, 2009


Dorky.
posted by ChickenringNYC at 9:43 AM on May 28, 2009


Pre-judgment aside, I've now watched (rather, skimmed) through the movie.. it's like a greeting card that won't end. Where's the cash?
posted by ChickenringNYC at 9:47 AM on May 28, 2009


I don't know what's "twee" about this. I can see hackneyed, but only in that the piece said something that we all know about life but rarely express to each other unless we're drunk.
posted by tehloki at 9:54 AM on May 28, 2009


I'm not going to go so far as to call it twee or dorky, but I am definitely one of those people who does not get Miranda July. I want to. I liked the website she made to promote her book, that was clever. I liked the design of her book; her publisher did a good job on that. But I don't get her stories, and I don't get her movies. This one was kind of random and confusing and then had New Years resolutions at the end. I'm really not sure what that was supposed to do for me.
posted by Caduceus at 10:24 AM on May 28, 2009


Miranda July is a clammy kiss during summer break.
posted by basicchannel at 10:57 AM on May 28, 2009


Miranda July's output is basically observational humor without most of the laughs. It inspires superficial identification with the creator and a sense of community by virtue of shared experiences, but the fact that her observations concern relationships and personal sense of purpose and whatever just obscures the fact that they're facile and not particularly enlightening or profound.

It seems like she provides a (limited, self-absorbed) taxonomy of issues without really saying anything about them, and then takes the bold leap from inspiring indifference to inspiring repellence by the sheer amount of pretense at profundity she packs into the presentation.
posted by invitapriore at 11:20 AM on May 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


Put me down in the 'doesn't get' camp, and not just because Miranda stayed at my house in 1999 and was rude, ungrateful, and dismissive.
posted by item at 11:26 AM on May 28, 2009


Well I liked it; thanks for posting. What happens if you go the other way?
posted by bluefly at 11:27 AM on May 28, 2009


...not just because Miranda stayed at my house in 1999 and was rude, ungrateful, and dismissive.

Damn. As a Canadian I find that intolerable, and you have just ruined Miranda July for me. Her appeal for me rested on her being a delicate, wise, and misunderstood flower. But I guess if it's true it had to be said.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 11:56 AM on May 28, 2009


Well I liked it; thanks for posting. What happens if you go the other way?
posted by bluefly at 2:27 PM on May 28 [+] [!]


[Insert Might and Magic 1 joke]
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:02 PM on May 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


I suppose I enjoyed it in its general-ness. But I didn't see it as particularly profound or moving experience --- oh, wait. I just got it. It reminded me of when I was a teenager and I was dark and brooding and had all these profound thoughts and experiences and feelings and then ten years later I realized that they were just all normal, everyday experiences of everyone around me. My experience and my thoughts were valid and they were certainly intense. But they weren't anything new or particularly unique. I think this particular movie may have relied on the normal being unique too much.
posted by zizzle at 12:54 PM on May 28, 2009


i liked this - thanks much for posting

also, what Sys Rq said
posted by jammy at 1:51 PM on May 28, 2009


This reminded me of the bit in Infinite Jest where David Foster Wallace is talking about cliches, specifically the cliches used in AA meetings, and how they're all trite and facile and so on -- basically all the criticisms levied against Miranda July above. But then he notes that these cliches are still helpful and effective when they manage to convey their meaning, and sometimes they're the ONLY thing that works. The trick is figuring out how to put the meaning back into those words. I'm paraphrasing like crazy now, but it strikes me that this is a big part of Miranda July's project as an artist, and maybe a whole generation of artists. She's trying to make us see these things anew through a novel presentation and sheer blunt force. It may or may not be profound, but that's not really the point. You could say it questions the notion of profundity as something necessary or even possible. You could.

Anyway, I'm going outside now.
posted by speicus at 2:13 PM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, I'll make sure to mention everyone's concerns to Miranda once we're married*. I'd prefer to wait until after the honeymoon if that's okay with y'all.

*I'm really pretty sure that this is going to happen shortly after we finally meet.
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 2:22 PM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


It seems like she provides a (limited, self-absorbed) taxonomy of issues without really saying anything about them, and then takes the bold leap from inspiring indifference to inspiring repellence by the sheer amount of pretense at profundity she packs into the presentation.

Are you referring to her feature film (Jury Prize, Sundance; Camera d’Or, Cannes), her videos or performances (Whitney, Guggenheim, Museum of Modern Art), web projects or her short stories (Harper's, New Yorker, Paris Review, O'Conner International Award)?
posted by xod at 2:25 PM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Put me down in the 'doesn't get' camp, and not just because Miranda stayed at my house in 1999 and was rude, ungrateful, and dismissive.

Damn.
Really? Can you say how at all, item?
posted by Jody Tresidder at 2:28 PM on May 28, 2009


xod: I'm referring to what of hers I've seen, which is her movie and this project. I would be interested to hear why you think that her work doesn't behave as I feel it does, but unfortunately your reply reads as back-cover copy rather than a rebuttal.

She's trying to make us see these things anew through a novel presentation and sheer blunt force.

If that's the case, I didn't experience this transformation of the content. I don't think it would be very affecting even if I had. Her messages, didactic as they are, are better left to such as things as AA seminars and self-help books, and I do believe that they are meant to be taken as profound. Her work must be; it is handling Big Topics. The lightness and humor with which she handles them almost seems like a defense mechanism to preemptively counter charges of melodrama.

Art can be so much more than simple self-affirmation and saccharine appeals to celebrating the beautiful and the weird and so on. I think her art fails in the same way that John Cage's does: if everything is music (or art or beauty), why do I need yours?
posted by invitapriore at 3:03 PM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I really tried to resist. I really did. Regardless, and with full knowledge that posting this single thought damns me as a inside-the-box, never-can-and-never-will-understand-it square: "Clean the lens, yo."
posted by ob1quixote at 3:06 PM on May 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


I accidentally saw Miranda July changing into a swimsuit once. I hope to tell her about it someday.
posted by Hammond Rye at 3:26 PM on May 28, 2009


(i don't know if that counts as a "vow to talk about something difficult with someone you love" or not)
posted by Hammond Rye at 3:38 PM on May 28, 2009


Mmm.. I dunno. I was about to be deeply moved, but then one of the signs tried to push a bunch of New Year's resolutions on me and I wound up just being annoyed.
posted by Kalthare at 3:48 PM on May 28, 2009


Proof that it is possible to be both clever and insipid at the same time.
posted by sciurus at 4:10 PM on May 28, 2009


You are in a hallway of twisty little passages.
posted by dhartung at 4:22 PM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


invitapriore, While it's true my question contained a rebuttal, it is, at root, a question. Having answered, it clears up the ambiguity of your claim regarding July's "output". You're referring to a fraction of her work.

I realize a list of credentials is not an argument. My point is July is a polymath with several impressive successes. And if her work is simply 'didactic, superficial, facile observational humor', perhaps her genius resides in the ability to fool so many of the major institutions of film, art and literature around the world. On the other hand, maybe there's something there you're not seeing.

For me, it is easy to see the criticisms of twee preciousness, but profundity isn't the mark. Her work is a collection of minor revelations for the awkward, damaged and lonely. No one dies. They just keep walking, hoping to see a little more clearly. The human condition is a cliché.
posted by xod at 6:05 PM on May 28, 2009


another Miranda July jem

I'm a huge fan of her film and fiction. She expresses the magical power of small empathies with great poetry and grace, and my world is a bit sweeter for it.
posted by marlys at 7:05 PM on May 28, 2009


xod: On the other hand, maybe there's something there you're not seeing.

On the other other hand, maybe you're seeing something that's not there.

Sorry, but my impression of this Installation - and I use that capitalized term with malice aforethought - was, "this is a young and/or shallow person's (limited, inaccurate) perception of what 'wisdom' must be." I might be more interested in Miranda's views on life and meaning once she's somewhat closer to the end of that hallway herself. Also, I'm not automatically impressed by "major institutions of film, art and literature" declaring something to be Art...'nuff said.

Yes, I know I sound like a grumpy old stick-in-the-mud; but seriously, I got past this kind of "meaningful expression" in my 20's ("Whoa, stick together three unconnected things - a cup, a dirty picture, a piece of paper with 'Joy' written on it - isn't that, like, totally mindblowing, man? Think about it! And have you ever really looked at your hands??"). I'm no Wise Person by any means, but I've at least started to learn to recognize bullshit when I see it.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:05 PM on May 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


@Greg_Ace: She does have a somewhat simple way of expressing things... but I find her to be very unique stylistically. For her fans, this is what it's all about. I've read her book and seen her movie... it connects with me in a way that is not at all easy to explain.
posted by VulcanMike at 8:57 PM on May 28, 2009


This gallery contains shots from her recent interactive sculputural works "Eleven Heavy Things"
http://gallery.me.com/mjuly
posted by VulcanMike at 9:00 PM on May 28, 2009


Art can be so much more than simple self-affirmation and saccharine appeals to celebrating the beautiful and the weird and so on. I think her art fails in the same way that John Cage's does: if everything is music (or art or beauty), why do I need yours?

It's funny, because you just succinctly expressed why John Cage's art succeeds.
posted by speicus at 10:27 PM on May 28, 2009


The human condition is a cliché.

Oh. My. God. Youaresodeep.
posted by elwoodwiles at 12:31 AM on May 29, 2009


I like the presentation, but the presumption not so much.
posted by Acey at 5:41 AM on May 29, 2009


Very interesting, thanks 2or3whiskeysodas.

...not just because Miranda stayed at my house in 1999 and was rude, ungrateful, and dismissive.

Lol. Picasso has been known to be rude, ungrateful, and dismissive too.
I am quite sure I wouldn't have enjoyed meeting Michelangelo, Van Gogh or Pollock either.
There is no relationship between the value of a work of art and the social abilities of its creator.

July's work is endearing in part because you end asking yourself if it is art or not. She makes you look at your own perception of what art is. It is even more apparent in the series of works shown in the gallery named "Eleven Heavy Things" here (thanks, VulcanMike). These works invite the viewer to be part of them.

If you are part of them, where is the art, now, if it's not first inside yourself? This is the very question asked by Duchamp a century ago and it's still the best one about art, and about ourselves. Some critics seem to think that July's work makes her an easy target, but what if she makes you your own target?
posted by bru at 6:02 AM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


The human condition is a cliché.

Oh. My. God. Youaresodeep.

See what I mean?

______________


Whoa, stick together three unconnected things - a cup, a dirty picture, a piece of paper with 'Joy' written on it - isn't that, like, totally mindblowing, man?

An empty cup symbolizing unsatisfied sexual desires is a familiar artistic and literary trope. Notice the cup is pink. Its first appearance in the hallway is accompanied by a depiction of sex and the near-presence of Joy. But Joy is outside the parameters of the text. Joy is a temporary post-it on the ceiling above the passage. "It's just a cup and a drawing and it means nothing." becomes, 'It's just [desire] and [sex] and it means nothing [without Joy]'.

Later, the empty pink cup and the drawing reappear. "And oh look! It's the cup and dirty drawing again. They're like old friends now [...]. Oh, but joy isn't there. She must be off with someone else, someone funner. Agh, who needs joy anyway [...]. Joy can go fuck herself." The following pages in the passage are black and blank. They are followed by "a forest" and a "long moonless night".

You are in a hallway of twisty little passages.

The term trope derives from Greek for turn, alter and change. It is, variously, a motif, theme or figure of speech in which words turn and twist their literal meaning. A cliché is an undercooked trope, an overused phrase that remains untransformed. "Go fuck yourself," for example, is a familiar and overused figure of speech, a cliché; "Joy can go fuck herself," is something else.
posted by xod at 11:41 AM on May 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


Can you say how at all, item?
posted by Jody Tresidder at 4:28 PM on May 28

No. No, I can't. It's just not in me to answer questions from headcases that very obviously make absolutely no sense at all. Have you tried a bit of serious medication?
posted by item at 11:58 PM on June 7, 2009


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