Technology on its own just isn’t as fun. It needs art. To some extent, I do agree with the following…

The production of too many useful things results in too many useless people. ~Karl Marx

Artists are extremely USEFUL people.

The Office Marilyn Monroe [sic] Film by Tim Roseborough, Courtesy of the Artist

Lately, it’s been ridiculously cold but I know my west coast, home-grown California tuchus hasn’t experienced real cold weather. Yes, my east coast friends, I know this Bay Area weather is nothing. Someone please remind me to not say “Geez, it’s awfully cold out” in the presence of an east coaster who has a far different idea of what cold means! I figured, in such extreme weather (please remember, this is cold to a California girl!), I thought it would be apropos to talk about something relatively hot – Tim Roseborough’s re-contextualization of the Marilyn Monroe sex film.

What is the Truth, you ask?

Is there really a Marilyn Monroe Sex Film? Click here (oh, don’t worry, this is safe to open up at work – the link leads to the popular site, Smoking Gun) and you will find the answer, which will then lead to Mr. Roseborough’s piece – The Official Marilyn Monroe [sic] Film.

I highly encourage you to watch Mr. Roseborough’s film prior to reading the rest and posting comments and/or questions. Fingers crossed. In the near future, I would love to feature an interview with the artist regarding his work!

Ideas, Impressions, Reaction

Not knowing there was even a rumor, I watched Mr. Roseborough’s piece thinking it were an actual interpretation or iteration of the original. My curiosity was piqued. Naturally, I was inclined to conduct a bit of research to see if there was an actual sex film after viewing the piece. Learning no such film existed put me at ease since the most risqué thing I would much rather remember involves skirt blowing in her film, The Seven Year Itch. I think much of the collective fascination with celebrity lives, especially their private and intimate moments, is the need to see something outside of oneself. Much of what we rely on to escape our lives involves watching someone else’s and inserting ourselves within that context. Or, watching to make a judgement. Voyeurism diminishes or eradicates curiosity of the unknown as well. Either way, viewing the piece had me thinking all kinds of things. One thing is for sure, the piece affirms my affinity for drag queens.

In The Official Marilyn Monroe [sic] Film, the subject is Raya Light who plays the sexy, voluptuous Marilyn. The choice of having a gender illusionist play the part of Ms. Monroe forces the viewer to reconcile quite a bit of historical knowledge and gender constructs considering this is an interpretation of quite an iconic (hetero) figure in our history. She embodied, for many people, what it meant to look like, act like, be a woman. There’s certainly nothing like gender theory and dynamics to warm your cold hands and feet! Now, don’t worry, I’m not going to start with Judith Butler and gender binary talk although I’m really tempted to do so. I want you to get warm NOT dizzy and disoriented!! So, I’ll just say, the choice for the ‘role’ was perfect. It’s art, my friends, and it’s supposed to make you think on different levels with varying perspectives.

Watching the film, you will notice another key part – the ice cream cone. The nature of how it is consumed, the viewer watches the subject eating, which, too, can be quite intimate. Seriously, folks, you wouldn’t put just anything in your mouth (insert dirty jokes here) but quite frankly, the act of eating in the film simulates something rather salacious. Or does it? Okay, it does. It did for me, anyway. I think what’s all the more telling is the fact that you don’t know what will happen next so you continue to watch. Even if you want to pull away, there’s something that makes you watch this version of ‘Marilyn’ enjoying what we normally do – eat. Pretty gestalt if you ask me. You fill in the blanks and create your own story. Besides the slow burn of the film, Mr. Roseborough does a masterful job at creating graininess that distorts time and forces our mind to organize information in a different way.

All right, these are thoughts (and I’m just getting started). THAT and my break time at work is over!

Portrait of Jason II: Rebirth of the B*tch - Film by Tim Roseborough, Courtesy of the Artist

This past year has been filled with pleasant surprises in the arts, in particular, New Media Art. One of the co-founders, Tim Roseborough, of the UpgradeSF node is a New Media artist I’ve been paying a lot of attention to lately. Not only am I intrigued by digital and multi-media art, I’m enthralled by the ways in which new media artists must engage their viewer on a level of thought that looks at technology as a means to convey something deeper about the human condition and existence in this post modern age. In the next few days, I will be dedicating some much needed blog posting real estate to Mr. Roseborough’s work.

Please visit his site by clicking here.

You know what would be even more wonderful? YOUR questions about his work. At the moment, I have two postings in the works (for publication by the end of this week) yet I would like to invite you to reply to this posting with a question and/or thoughts about his work.

Something fun…

Being on medical leave (for knee surgery) subjected me to RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate – Thanks, BFF and Google), reading and playing Words with Friends (via my iPhone). Since I love being outdoors, taking walks (anywhere and, sometimes, aimlessly), it’s safe to assume the recuperation period has been challenging and makes me rather talkative when my girlfriend comes over to have dinner after a hard day’s work. Good ole cabin fever starts to make me wonder all sorts of things and was quickly reminded of how I have a connection to people outside of these walls. Whether it’s through social networking, texting, chatting on gChat, posting some random thought, picture, or video on my tumblr, or writing about art; people are bound to know some aspect of my personality even if they don’t know me. Ten years ago, it was a bit taboo engaging in some online rendezvous and perhaps, a bit on the desperate side for those who consider themselves introverts. Nowadays, it’s strange if you’re not connected to the rest of the world. My goodness, if you don’t have a phone, people look at you as if you’ve been in some cave.

I love art because it takes you out of yourself. The displacement that occurs when you go to a museum, gallery, or an art opening is the very reason artists are extremely important in this touch screen interface laden culture. Cristin Norine and Joshua Jay Elliott have created a project examining the effects of technology and the degradation of face to face interaction. Norine will be living in a studio space exposed to the world (well, physically, anyone in Portland, Oregon), for 30 days, communicating ONLY through technology (i.e., Skype, social networking, Face Time, e-mail, texting – you get the point). Consider me intrigued…

Is it art? If you’re talking about it and asking the question, it probably is.

You can read Norine’s blog here.