So Long, Norma Jean

I have neglected the Illuminated Sketchpad Section of Illumination Gallery for some time. This was due to putting together and launching the Digital Hallucinations and Illuminated Text Loops sections of the site. With those sections now fully in place, I can again concentrate herein on playing around with pop imagery. No female figure looms larger over pop culture than Marilyn Monroe. Yet I believe there is something dark about our fascination with Marilyn, both in terms of men's and women's fascination. Men fantasize having sex with Marilyn, women fantasize having her sexual allure. Occasionally these fantasies converge. Indeed, relationships - even marriages - stem from and revolve around the illusion; an illusion that in life was incredibly difficult for Norma Jean Baker to maintain. In the end, Norma Jean cracked under the strain and all that remained was:

Norma Jean's corpse on a slab in the morgue. Nothing could be further from the image Norma Jean and Hollywood honed for public consumption. Indeed, it was a collaborative effort, with Norma Jean a willing party who wanted to be Marilyn, much as the women enamored of Marilyn's magical sexuality wanted to possess it themselves. Marilyn gained immortality through an "image." But that's Marilyn, not Norma Jean. I see Norma Jean as a dark dream. My illuminated text loop, Dark Spiraling Dream, deals with this in an abstract fashion. Personally, I can't quite let go the dream. It's too haunting. The animation running below, which requires a high-speed Internet connection, was sampled/processed from the above morgue photo.

Composed of 60 frames, the animation lasts approximately 1 minute and 49 seconds, then loops. In a way, I created the animation to free the spirit of Norma Jean Baker from the ghost of Marilyn Monroe...because that's all Marilyn ever was: a ghost.

Some Marilyn Monroe links:

© 2006 Peter Schmideg

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