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21 September 2015 @ 07:28 pm
la liseuse  
i want to read naked by candlelight. with that blissful absorption of henner's "the reader." a smile playing on my lips, my eyes regarding the line with fondness in that way of the mysterious all-knowing or the happily naive.

why are there so many portraits of naked women reading? why are there so many portraits of women reading, naked or clothed? having modeled for the junior college life drawing class for a few years, i understand why the subject of a painting would want to read. it can get tiresome, counting how many cinder block bricks in the south wall, how many vertical blinds in the east window, how many panels in the art room ceiling, how many band-related buttons on that one guy’s backpack, how many arpeggios in tangerine dream's “stratosfear,”(1) which opened the second side of one of the mix tapes i'd bring with me to model.

a book might have also been a joyous reprieve from my hard focus on the exhausting arpeggios of my endlessly repeating brain. and by that i mean it's possible every individual willfully standing naked on a table in a room of total strangers is doing that for someone in particular. more likely than not, it isn’t someone who is in the room. or in a life drawing class. or at a junior college. of course it isn't. you know, don't even try throwing logic at me when i was nineteen. it will not stick. just leave it at: people are strange.

if women are painted with books out of consideration for the model, overtired of counting the brush marks in the plaster, why aren’t there an equivalent number of portraits with men reading? and why are so many of the paintings of women reading vulnerable: as in, naked, drowsy, provocatively dressed, breast hedging ever closer to that plunging neckline? was the notion of a woman reading rarefied in this era, at least conceptually, and therefore somehow exotic? was it seen as kinky, cerebral cross dressing, putting a book in a woman's hands?

how titillating, the notion that a woman might think. except not as an originating voice; these women are not writing. and not in a complicated or troubling way: their expressions are of blissful absorption, musing — never horror, disgust, or rage. the paintings are composed so the viewer can enjoy the idea of a pretty woman reading pretty. strip it down. make it beautiful, beautiful enough to not have to think about the larger ramifications of feminine intelligence, agency, or desire. it’s objectifying; a romantic little scene for the voyeuristic bibliophile.

and yet here i am, fantasizing about being just that. people are very strange.

(1) not thrilled with spotified’s linking capacities, but here is a link to my profile. i think. if you scroll down to my public mixes, you will find my spotify recreation of this mix under “the f$cking tranquil tape.” i am concerned about the reliability of these mix recreations; initially very surprised at the resources i could find on spotify, i later discovered that the player was just grabbing stuff out of my itunes and pretending it had retrieved it from its own store. also sometimes one day a thing is there and the next day that same thing is not there. on the plus side, i now know in explicit detail how seriously i lean into simple mind’s street fighting years when mixing. on the minus side, that’s because it’s not available. as of 9/21, all the original tracks on “f$cking tranquil” appear to be available; i made it in early 1994. “autumn rain” is a plausible adjustment (for availability) of a separate mix i made later that year, where i finally got the energy right. that isn’t the original track listing; “autumn rain” originally featured eleven minutes of (not available) french musique concrète on the second side, and made heavy use of an amazing hic sunt leones/projekt records compilation CD (the promises of silence) that apparently nobody cares about anymore.
music: fleet foxes - blue ridge mountains
[redacted]: studyingelsewhereangel on September 25th, 2015 11:28 pm (UTC)
In graduate school, when I was especially broke and the internet was less Big Brother-y, I strongly considered setting up a webcam to do just this (hot naked redhead reads things, assorted). Since I was already prone to doing my homework in elaborate lingerie when I was especially bored, it almost made sense.

During the same years, I often wished I could lecture in a burka to feel less stared at.

Go figure.

Edited at 2015-09-25 11:31 pm (UTC)