Philippe Parreno has talked about his new video installation, now on display at the Fondation Beyeler in Basel, Switzerland.
“Why did you choose to make a film about Marilyn?
Philippe Parreno: It started with a little book that a friend sent me of fragments from her notebooks—and what I liked was her handwriting.
So you were attracted by her words and her writing, and not her face or her image.
The book was published because this year people are celebrating her death, and in my work I am interested in celebration. I was interested in the idea of celebrating a dead person, of trying to portray a ghost. Why are ghosts interesting? Because they are unfinished, heterogenous. Marilyn Monroe represents the first time that the unconscious killed the person—her image killed her. So we had to use an image to bring her back. The film is the portrait of a phantom incarnated in an image. Or, to use a neologism, an attempt to produce a “carnated” image.
The film is almost the opposite of your Zidane film, in which one person is scrutinised for 90 minutes. Marilyn is shot from her point of view, but you never see her: you see her writing and hear her voice, but these are generated by machines.
Yes, there is an uncanniness to the whole mise-en-scène…the camera becomes her eyes looking around the room.
Your fictitious evocation of Marilyn’s room at the Waldorf Astoria is also very cinematic.
The idea of cinema as exhibition is another aspect. The room at the Astoria that I have recreated is basically an exhibition space, so when you enter the room at the Beyeler, you will have the feeling that you are entering two exhibition spaces, one containing the other.”
The Zurich Filmpodium in Switzerland is screening a series of Marilyn’s movies from July 1 – August 19, including early gems like Clash By Night and Don’t Bother to Knock as well as the familiar favourites.
This floral-print dress, designed by Jean-Louis and worn by Marilyn in the ill-fated Something’s Got to Give, was bought on Ebay last year for $57,000 by Deborah Burke of Stamford, Connecticut.
The dress was featured on last week’s Final Offershow, on the Discovery Channel. A preview video was posted on MSNBC. (Spoiler: one collector offered Burke $800,000, but she decided to hold out for a million, reports Huffington Post!)
1*9*5*6 Degrees of Separation, choreographer Killian Manning’s new play – exploring an imaginary meeting between Marilyn (played by J. Evarts), Grace Kelly, Diane Arbus and Margot Fonteyn – will be staged at the Manbites Dog Theatre in Durham, North Carolina from June 20-24, reports the Herald-Sun.
“They discuss life with their respective husbands – Roberto ‘Tito’ Arias, a Panamanian diplomat; Rainier III, Prince of Monaco; and playwright Arthur Miller. Later in the scene, photographer Diane Arbus (played by Marcia Edmundson) enters and takes a photo of Kelly. Monroe whispers into Arbus’ ear that all three women ‘met with horrible deaths’ (Fonteyn died of bone cancer, Kelly was killed in a car crash, and Monroe committed suicide). Arbus committed suicide in 1971, and in this play Arbus recites lines to Monroe from a poem her brother, Howard Nemerov, wrote for her after her suicide.”
Marilyn has inspired another songstress – Lana Del Rey, whose new track, ‘Body Electric’ (performed at the El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles, on June 3) begins with the line, “Elvis is my daddy, Marilyn is my mother – Jesus is my bestest friend…”
‘I Sing the Body Electric’ is also the title of a poem by Walt Whitman, whose collection, Leaves of Grass, was a favourite of Marilyn’s. You can watch the video here.
Amsterdam’s latest opera, Waiting For Miss Monroe, is reviewed in today’s Financial Times.
“Coming hot on the heels of Simon Curtis’s reverent film My Week With Marilyn, Raaff’s Waiting hits a similar note of literalistic hagiography. Though the medium of opera could have afforded the makers the chance to explore more distantly associative territory, Raaff and his team have stuck with a handful of well-explored biographical reflections. The opera’s three scenes trundle through Monroe’s fabled lateness on set, her fear of the film camera, her love affair with drugs and alcohol, her insecurity, her birthday hymn for JFK, and her death (a duet with her former self, Norma Jeane).”
Ethereal singer-songwriter Natasha Khan – aka Bat For Lashes – played three new tracks, including ‘Marilyn’, live in Cambridge yesterday. She also announced plans for her third album, The Haunted Man. Watch the video here.
“On another new song, ‘Marilyn’, she trilled ‘Honey, you’re touching a star,’ playing the final word as if running a xylophone stick upwards over a constellation. It’s a Japan (the band) song turned show tune, still soft and luscious in spite of its grinding spine.” – Pitchfork
This mixed-media piece by artist Elizabeth Grammaticas – inspired, of course, by Marilyn’s birthday serenade to JFK – will feature in ‘Space Half Empty’, a new show at Brooklyn’s Fowler Arts Collective, opening this Friday, June 15.
Egyptian-born artist Ludvic‘s paintings of Marilyn will be displayed at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix (where MM is said to stayed during filming of Bus Stop in 1956) through to September 5th, reports USA Today.