INTERVIEWS

 
These interviews were conducted by Sheila Heti, and published in The Believer magazine, unless otherwise noted.
 

Sophie Calle: (PDF) "[My art is] not about telling my life, it’s not about telling you truth. It’s not the truth, obviously. It happened, but it’s not truth. Because when I tell a story, one hour after—it’s not the truth. It’s editing, finding the nice words, writing poetically, having a style. So it’s not about telling the truth." June 2012.

 

John Currin: "Everybody thinks [art] has to be a big bummer, an after-school special about abortion and abuse and cutting and anorexia. But Rachel gave me the idea of making work about being happy." Published in Momus, June 2015.

 

Joan Didion: "I remember my husband saying, when Play It as It Lays was about to come out, “This isn’t going to—you’re never going to—this book isn’t going to make it.” And I didn’t think it was going to make it, either. And suddenly it did make it, in a minor way. And from that time on I had more confidence." June 2012.

 

Elena Ferrante: "We [women] need an ethics of our own to oppose that which the male world has imposed on and claimed from us. We need a hierarchy of our own merits and faults, and we need to reckon with truth. But that's only possible if we consider ourselves to be exposed to good and evil like any human being." Published in Brick, excerpted in Hazlitt, November 2016.

 

Mary Gaitskill: "I’ve noticed that when I’m writing longhand, sometimes I’ll write something and I’ll go, Oh, that’s awful, and I’ll cross it out and I’ll write something over it. And frequently when I go back, I decide that what I crossed out was actually better. When you’re writing on the computer, you don’t cross it out, you just delete it. But now, if I’m not sure, I don’t delete it." February 2009.

 

Dave Hickey: "The principal function of human reason is to rationalize what your lizard brain demands of you. That's my idea. And art and writing come from somewhere down around the lizard brain." December 2007.

 

Karl Ove Knausgaard: (YouTube) "My Struggle was written with my heart. My next books—I haven't invested my heart and soul in them. They're not burning like those books are." The Chicago Humanities Festival, May 2016.

 

Chris Kraus: "As soon as we’re concerned with “the political” as opposed to “politics,” we’re dealing with an abstraction. Politics is topical—it’s what’s happening now, and we can either respond in the present or avoid it." September 2013.

 

Mary Midgley: (PDF) "Science is meant to be impartial, isn’t it? Scientists as such aren’t necessarily impartial, but ideology is boiling out of books that get sold as science, because the book is supposed to be a scientific book, whereas the person is really acting as a guru or a prophet who should be judged on the merit of his prophecies." February 2008.

 

Darren O'Donnell: (PDF) "It’s to make this crazy encounter between the adults and these kids, and make the kids feel they’re in control... The feeling of kids running around and having a good time at a family gathering—that vibe can be much more prevalent in the culture if we want it to be." May 2011.

 

Frank Stella: (PDF) "There should be photography museums. There should be video art museums. I don’t need to go to a museum that has painting and great art in it to look at videos. They should have their own place." November/December 2008.

 

Agnes Varda: "When I started my first film, there were three women directors in France. Their films were OK, but I was different." October 2009.

 

Charlene Yi: "Sometimes I'll think something is funny and I'll go on stage and it doesn't work, and it's like, Oh my god—I think I lost my funny! It's frustrating cause I don't understand it. I'll do the same material with a different audience and it'll work, and it'll be like, How come it worked this time? It's so unpredictable." March/April 2010.

 

Other interviews include conversations with Tamar AdlerMargaret Atwood, Shary Boyle, Dick Cavett, Semi ChellasLena DunhamHarmony KorineJohn GallDorian Fitzgerald, Sophie Fontanel, Tavi Gevinson, Hilary Harkness, Juliet JacquesMiranda July, Micah LexierRobert McKee, Deepa Mehta, Alanis Obomsawin, Peaches, Alison Pill, Judit PolgarLaurie Simmons and Vendela Vida.

 

What Would Twitter Do? is a series for The Believer detailing the Twitter philosophies and strategies of a dozen people who tweet, including Teju Cole, Crylenol, Roxane Gay, Kenneth GoldsmithMira GonzalesTao LinPatricia LockwoodChristian LorentzenMelville HouseKimmy Waltersand Kate Zambreno.