Miranda July (b. 1974) is a video and performance artist, filmmaker, and author who has attracted audiences in venues ranging from mainstream movie theaters (Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005)) to the Venice Biennale (Eleven Heavy Things (2009)). Though the themes around which she creates her work are varied—childhood, friendship, surveillance, love, control—one particularly unifying element is July’s attention to her audience, real or imagined. In Things We Don’t Understand and Definitely Are Not Going to Talk About (2006– ), for example, members of the audience take active part in the performance. More subtly, Getting Stronger Every Day (2001), a seven-minute video piece, relates the deeply personal experiences of the fictional characters while also generating a quiet mood of memory and loss that resonates with any viewer. July’s writing, which includes short stories and personal essays, continues this inclusive strategy. Most notable are No One Belongs Here More Than You (2007) and Learning to Love You More (2007), the titles themselves implying the participation and importance of an unknown individual(s), their accompanying Web sites inviting interaction of a different sort.
July’s relationship to the feminist artists of the previous generation is indirect yet distinct. The issues of politics and power that infuse many of her works are informed by the spirit of radical protest that surrounded her in Berkeley, where she spent her youth and began her career as an artist.
Miranda July, The Swan Tool (2001). Photo by Harrell Fletcher.
Fletcher, Harrell, Miranda July, Julia Bryan-Wilson, Laura Lark, and Jacinda Russell. Learning to Love You More. Munich; New York: Prestel, 2007.
Hoffman, Alison. "The Persistence of (Political) Feelings and Hand-Touch Sensibilities: Miranda July's Feminist Mutimedia-Making." In There She Goes: Feminist Filmmaking and Beyond, edited by Corinn Columpar and Sophie Mayer, 19-33. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2009.
July, Miranda. No One Belongs here More than You: Stories. New York: Scribner, 2007.
Me and You and Everyone We Know. Directed by Miranda July. Santa Monica, Calif.: Metro Goldwyn Mayer; Culver City, Calif.: Distributed by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 2005.