Sunday, 3 March 2013

Margaret Nolan Interview

From Playerist Literary Magazine No. 2, November 2012 (ISSN 2048-2515)
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© Martin Slidel, 2012. All rights reserved.

Photo by Martin Slidel, London, 2013

Goldfinger ranks amongst the most influential of film title sequences and is iconic in cinema history. Consequently, Margaret Nolan is wary of focus on what is for her a minor aspect of an eclectic acting career. The imagery defines a level of artifice prevalent in popular culture to which Nolan continues to respond. Her photomontages impart a unique and personal dialogue intrinsically related to a view of a woman and how a woman is viewed.

P: As the model did you assume a definition of artifice or set yourself apart from it?

MN: I was completely steeped in the concept of the artifice of women presenting themselves. It was just another job – posing in front of a camera for the titillation of men.

P: Were you keen to escape the high glamour or to embrace it and use it?

MN: I absolutely embraced it when I was able to, when I was glamorous. You don’t go on embracing it – that is pathetic. It was just part of being young and beautiful.

P: Was it something you were consciously aware of using?

MN: I wasn’t consciously aware in that sense. That was just what I did for a living.

P: What internal responses gel via your personal relationship with the imagery over the course of adult life?

MN: It’s an ambivalent feeling. It’s pride that I was blessed with being attractive. Also that it’s all that a lot of people saw of me. And there was a whole lot more that was the antithesis of that.

P: Does the imagery liberate or celebrate womanhood?

MN: It does celebrate the physical form. If I’d been nude it might have been about liberation because up to that point you wouldn’t have seen a nude woman in a publicly visible thing like that. I could have been very pretentious and said this is liberating. But because I was dressed-up anyway I didn’t get that sense.

P: The gold paint; the patina of projected film; the captured image projected onto the cinema screen: is it a process of layering to cocoon or expose you?

MN: It’s both. It’s interesting but you do feel like that when you’re modelling – cocooned – [cocooned and exposed] at the same time.

P: What is false? What is true?

MN: Every time I think of philosophical things it takes me back to this thing about us being part of the earth; that we have evolved from the earth and that this planet is what we have become suitable for. It’s false to imagine that we’re in any way set-up against our environment; that we have to destroy, plunder, rape, or take away from anybody else to get our own needs met.

Do you know, you could take it down to things like the Goldfinger titles by saying that it’s a false concept that a beautiful woman will enhance your sex-life. But people have always liked looking at beautiful things. It’s part of human existence and in a way you reflect the environment around you. A beautiful woman’s body is very much to do with the environment; the undulating lines, and vice versa – they’re both connected. We’re geared to find the human body beautiful and to find the environment beautiful because our impetus is to survive, and that’s how we’ve survived. We’re interacting with the human body and the environment.


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Writer + Musician, London, UK