Reading Week 5: Lily Van Der Stokker and John Waters

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9 Comments

Lily Van Der Stokker seems to be a delightful person. This interview really seems to capture a strong connection between her personality and her work, which highlights an honesty in her practice. I also love this interview duo. Shocking John Waters vs. Sweet, "cutesy" Lily Van Der Stokker makes for an entertaining concept for an interview. John Waters remains in control of this interview. It is almost as if you can sense how intimidated Stokker is.

I am struck by the layout, it took me a moment to realise the questions and answers are written on either side. This could allow the reader to only read the questions or the answers. It would be an interesting exercise to take the questions and answer them as if they were asked of your work, it could get quite surreal. Or do a kind of exquisite corpse thing with it by rearranging the orders.
It also appears like a visualisation of the confrontation in an interview, interviewer and interviewee facing each other across the page.

The tone in this varies from humorous to critical. John Waters is very blunt, just on the cusp in some instances of being insulting. At times the questions and answers felt slightly disjointed. Some of his questions felt loaded and some of her answers felt sort of passive, evading in a sense some the key elements in questions. I do think his way of interviewing pulls out undercurrents of meaning that is not readily stated by the artist. He is persistent and pushes for clarity in some parts of the conversation, like when she said her work is old fashioned he didn't let it rest her persisted.
The very outspoken John Waters is seemingly dominating the interview, but there was an interesting exchange between the two. She seems ready to discuss her work from any perspective, the idea that it is stupid, aggravating, or ludicrous. She embraces these words and explains how this works in her favor.
A question that came to mind while reading this is what is the role of the interviewer? Is it to unearth the unspoken aspects of the artists work?

What makes an interview successful?

I can't decide if I love this or despise it, for all of the reasons above. John Waters is very, very John Waters-y, and has entered into this conversation with a strong interpretation that he's determined to get LVDS to agree with. Unlike many interviews, this isn't a verbal dance: it's inflated-sumo-suit wrestling. They sound like they're having a lot of fun, but the result feels clunky and uncoordinated.

At the same time, I get it. This is serious work masquerading as cutesy, and this interview has given me enough insight into Lily Van Der Slotten's artistic content and aesthetic (which I found initially off-putting) instead of dismissing her out-of-hand.

The back-and-forth formatting of the text is successful, particularly in creating the visual understanding of this as a 'conversation' instead of a more one-sided interview.

I also was confused at first of the layout of the interview. Although, I quite liked how it read. Reading it in that way felt like I was watching them talk and that they were actually having more of a conversation. I think that style layout went with the tone of Slotten's work. Very relaxed and not difficult to read.

It was nice to see some of her work before the interview occurred to give a sense of what work they may be talking about. It gave a context to their conversation.

Do you feel Waters should have pushed harder for deeper answers, or was he right to leave her reveal herself by showing how far she is or is not willing to go? I can see it either way, but a presidential debate is tonight and I'm reminded how crazy I get when politicians dodge answers and reporters don't call them out on it. I did gain insight into Van Der Stokker's work, but I think Waters could have playfully pressed a little harder.

I should mention that I would also then like Van Der Stokker to playfully up her resistance!

It struck me how John Waters keeps asking her yes or no questions about what kind of person she is, trying to attach titles or general qualities to her which seem strange. "Are you a beachy kind of girl?" "If you're a good feminist, that means you're a trouble maker." "Are you a minimalist intellectual?" "Are you the sweet tooth of the art world?"
Knowing just a little bit about John Waters, maybe I can assume he is just being sarcastic. Also, it seems that she is trying to down play herself and her work. I agree with Josh that maybe she intimidated by Waters. I think I would be, too. He's a pretty weird dude.

It seems to me that they were just skimming the surface, almost like a couple of kids "playing" interview. In my head all I could hear was John Water's voice and how he might sound. That is what made it fun to read.

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