featuring Rebecca Tun
(a script for a video. approx 10 min.)
The Muse is a short.
The Muse delivers a series of monologues in verse about her observation and experience of being an artist’s muse.
A large messy room used as an artist’s studio. Towards the back of the room is an easel. In the middle of the room is a small plinth like bed.
1st SCENE – A wide camera angle of the whole room. The artist is behind his easel preparing while waiting for the model. The model enters the scene from behind the camera, wearing a robe. She walks to the far side of the plinth where she drops her robe on the floor and takes a reclining position on the bed. She faces away from the artist and towards the camera, propped up on one elbow.
2nd SCENE – Close up of the model’s head and shoulders. The model looks past the camera, then after a couple of seconds looks knowingly at the camera and speaks to the camera. She delivers a poem confidently in as much a conversational style as possible while keeping to the structure and rhythm of the poem.
MUSE what is this dogged need to record me
with the dull efficiency of a bureaucrat
my white skin splayed against black
black on white like ink on paper
the line a length of my arm
the arc of my back, my roundness of rump
my lean torso and substantial thigh
the considered framing of my vulva
each part of me analyzed and categorized
my dismemberment into pieces of a jig saw
a puzzle to be reconstructed, as though
I will end up more than the sum of my parts
a reductionist’s curiosity in cogs and springs
their connections and interactions
how one depends upon and manipulates the other
my potential motor skills in the act of carnal love
his eye refuses to obey polite society
refuses to compromise with social angst
his eye is primal and beyond reason
a natural predator, he eyes me up as prey
Model returns to looking past the camera. Camera stays in position. Artist indicates pose is finished. Model sits up with back to camera.
3rd SCENE – A wide camera angle taking in the whole of the room. Artist explains and instructs the model about the following pose. The model to stand on tiptoes, her arms stretched in the air as though she is hanging from a rope.
4th SCENE – Mid angled view of the model struggling to stretch as much as she can. She looks at the camera and rolls her eyes.
5th SCENE – Head and shoulders of the model. Model glances to artist and then to the camera as if telling a confidence. She recites the following poem confidently and conversationally as possible but with an affectation that suggests she doesn’t want the artist to over hear her
MUSE on tiptoe, the stretch of my body
displays the nubility of youth
as I struggle with this creaky ballet absurd
in pursuit of a semblance of balance
a dangling conversation of stress and strain
my muscles ripple up and down bone
I am a flame in a constant state of flux
the curve and fullness of my breasts
the flex and stretch of my haunches
are a provocation to the artist’s eye
whose surgical pencil skips like a conductor’s baton
notating music across a page
a life time isn’t time enough to capture
the startling beauty of my possession
in stone, in clay, in paint
all he achieves is rendering me earthbound
reducing me to the grind of gristle on bone
but occasionally, just occasionally, something miraculous occurs
his shadow is solidified by the light I cast
lengthening like a sundial across the wall
his permanence an illusion of my brightness
temporary and for no longer than I pose
knowing that in the wake of my enlightenment
is his art’s ultimate demise
Model turns her head away from the camera and looks towards the artist.
6th SCENE – A brief wide angled view, showing the model from the artist’s point of view. Artist tells model to relax. Model relaxes.
7th SCENE – Camera behind the model. The model is in a pose similar to Monet’s Olympia. The artist is drawing on the other side of her from the camera.
8th SCENE –Camera looking down on the model. The model turns her head slightly and gives a double take and frowns at the camera’s intrusion. The model decides to carry on with her monologue with the camera and recites the poem below in an irritated voice.
MUSE this slab belly is underestimated
smooth as a stone, polished and perfect
it is too often rushed across without attention to detail
until his black pencil touches the paper
when his eye leads his imagination
or his imagination leads his eye
centred in this featureless plain
pressed like a thumbprint, my navel is an oasis
the centre of me, for the moment
the centre of his entire universe
if this white wilderness was a landscape
he has not the time to cross it
he would hover above me like a lover might
amazed by my female beauty
sense how I would give to his touch, consider
how I would move beneath him, savour
the fever of anticipation, imagine how
a line could reveal my secrets
Artist shows irritation with the model for fidgeting. Model shows annoyance at the camera.
9th SCENE – The model is bent over the bed looking into the camera. A wide camera angle to show the artist drawing her from behind. Model recites poem below with even more irritation than before and ends with a sneer.
MUSE my body is nothing but a specimen
to be dissected and examined
not with the keen scalpel of a surgeon
nor with the ground axe of a serial killer
his tools are more mundane but no less sharp
pencils, paper and an unforgiving eye
my humiliation is not of his concern
his hand commits to its disciplined craft
control, interpret, respond to my body
define me until definition defines itself
freeing his hand to follow my line
until it cuts cruelly across the page
the artist in him demands his prerogative
to report his version of my truth
to his lecherous friends who’ll graze over me
dwelling where the eye lingers most
and time will be its most treacherous
my breasts, my rump, my thigh, my crotch
The artist suggests the model should look at his drawing. Model gets up and goes to look at the drawing. She slowly screws her face up and then turns to the artist, curses and walks out of scene behind the camera. A door slams.