Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Believer - Interview with Laurel Nakadate

The Believer - Interview with Laurel Nakadate:

"BLVR: In meeting these guys, has there ever been a negative experience, a line crossed?

LN: No. I feel like the men who end up in my videos, their biggest crime is being lonely. They’re not violent, they’re not scary people, they’re just men who keep to themselves and have a hard time being social. I’m always out there by myself, I go into stranger’s houses. I did a project where I went and walked around a truck-stop parking lot and videotaped myself dancing with men in the cabs of their semis. I definitely am taking risks, but I think something really great can come out of putting yourself in an awkward situation. A lot of people think that the work is about mocking or making fun of things, but a lot of it is about discomfort and making myself as uncomfortable as the men feel, or putting myself in a situation where I’m revealing my loneliness as much as they’re revealing theirs."

...LN: I got on Amtrak for thirty days last November. You can buy these rail passes where you can take Amtrak for thirty days in the U.S. and Canada. I took the train from New York down to New Orleans, Chicago, Memphis, Seattle. Mostly I ended up sitting in hotel rooms by myself and staring at myself and making videos about being lonely. I had made all this work about people I don’t belong with, and now I’m going to make some work about places I don’t belong. It’s just me. I took pictures of myself throwing my underwear off the side of a train and pictures of men I met on the train. I went up to the American Gothic house, the house that Grant Wood used as the setting for the painting, and I pole-danced in front of the house. It’s thirty days where I disappeared from the world and I think that the video and the show that came out if it was about travel, being in these Edward Hopper-esque hotel rooms by myself. It’s always a problem—you’ve got to figure out a place to put your body. You’ve got to wake up in the morning and deal with the fact that you have this body to lug around. It was thirty days where I didn’t have to worry about that. I was just cargo. The pictures were sad—in the best way.

...When I was really little I remember driving by a sort of makeshift tent at the edge of these woods in northern Iowa, near where Buddy Holly’s plane crashed. I was on my way to summer camp. I had all my belongings packed up, and we drove by this makeshift tent. I asked my dad what was going on and he said, “That’s where hermits live.” And I was like, “What’s a hermit?” And he said, “It’s a man who lives by himself and doesn’t really have anyone.” And I remember looking at my little suitcase on my way to summer camp and his little tent in the woods and that we were kind of the same. I was going out on this adventure by myself with my pink Velcro sneakers, and he was out there in his little tent. It really affected me. I was about seven years old. Every time I saw an older single man by himself after that, all I could think of was that little sad tent in the woods.

So that experience of seeing the hermit’s tent inspired me to become a hobo clown in fourth grade. I took clown lessons because my goal in life was to be a professional clown. I learned how to ride a unicycle, I learned how to juggle. I took on this alter ego. I became a hobo. The costume was a men’s suit jacket with a fake beard on my little fourth-grade face. I walked on stilts. I was obsessed with this idea of people who live by themselves and didn’t have to deal with anyone. So I guess this has been a theme in my work since about fourth grade [laughs]. Not to defend my intentions in going and hanging out with these men but I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for them.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Laurel Nakadate in a Show at MoMA P.S. 1 -

Laurel Nakadate in a Show at MoMA P.S. 1 - "Although she said she will continue making other kinds of work, Ms. Nakadate is clearly excited by the particular challenges and rewards of filmmaking.

“People who love movies love looking at the world,” she said. “Whether they love looking at the world through the processed lens of a director or whether they love looking at the world in the real world, I’m not really sure. But anybody who likes to look is someone I’m interested in spending time with.”"