Book: Miranda July


Miranda was eager for to feature charity shop stock among the luxury brand items for sale online. The Selfridges team went with this idea for a while, even going so far as to photograph our worn shoes and second-hand hijabs on their models, but ultimately decided it was too confusing for customers. So we were left with all these fabulous photos on stark white backgrounds to place elsewhere. Meanwhile, our partners at Islamic Relief were gently pointing out that the photos of the models in hijab were not modest enough. Helpful notes ( “skirt too short”, “need to cover chest”) guided Miranda and the shop assistants in how best to dress the store mannequins so they wouldn't cause offence.

A perfect example(and there were many) of how the project needed to navigate so many different codes of practice from high capitalism to multiple religious traditions as well as Miranda's own code of conduct and values as an artist. The latter won through in this instance and we didn't use the images at all because they felt too contrived by making art out of the art. The project had to stay simple and straight — only the store and everything that actually happened within it was the art; not only the social interactions but also the bags, baskets and tags. This boundary took some conscious effort for Miranda to maintain as she is of course used to performing and making short videos all of the time. For 'Project Faith' she was careful to ensure those videos were only fan videos or documentation, rather than performances or works in and of themselves.



Text by Michael Morris
Published in Miranda July by Prestel Publishing