Would Miranda July be an artist if no one was looking? Yes, but having people watch isn’t an insignificant component to her artistic impulse, or anyone’s really. Just take for example the legions of YouTube users who post videos of themselves, singing, , dancing, and doing pretty much everything else just so that anonymous strangers can look at them.
“If you didn’t know that there were other things you could get out of art or out of making things besides just a reaction, then the reaction is still enough to propel you to make something,” says July. “That desire for a reaction runs pretty deep. With kids, unless you saw me go down the slide, it doesn’t count. It’s not a superficial desire. I do worry, though, that young girls out there might not know that there are other things you can get from making things, that it could serve you in other ways.”
The desire to be observed is just one topic covered in July’s second film, “The Future” which she wrote, directed and starred in. As a couple in their mid-30s, her character and that of Hamish Linklater decide to adopt a cat that will need around the clock care. As they wait 30 days until the cat is released from the vet’s office, they each a face a crisis regarding with the impending responsibility.
After July’s first success with her film “Me, You and Everyone We Know,” she gave herself unusual challenges for her next project, in which she incorporated dancing blind with a t-shirt over her head and a self-directed sex scene.
"It’s a pretty amazing to get to write a sex scene and be in it and direct yourself in it. How often has that ever happened? I wanted to get to do that,” she explains. “There’s nothing fun about it but it wasn’t any harder than any other part of the movie and it was sort of nice because everyone was so kind to me that day. They felt so sorry for me, what I had to do. And then it was very awkward but it’s all mechanical. At the end of the day, you’re measuring things with tape measures to get it right.”