What started out as a Gabbler interview with James Franco on his budding art career quickly progressed into something so post-post-modern, Derrida would have thrown himself into the abyss just for it to be over…
Q: Mr. Franco, thanks so much for meeting with The Gabbler.
A: Thank you for having me. I hope you excuse my appearance – I was up all night undergoing The Process.
Q: Is that why you’re not wearing any pants?
A: Uh—Shit. Hold on. Sorry. I knew I was a little cold—Actually, no. Wait. It was on purpose! Yes! I was expressing myself. Acting. A performance. You see, an interview, its purpose is to strip the interviewee down by asking invasive, pointed questions. By baring all to you already, I have physically embodied the revealing nature of the intended interview process. Your questions leave me naked, exposed.
Q: Are you sure you’re not just hungover?
A: Being an artist—a true artist—is like being a priest or monk. One must rid themselves of all earthy temptations and distractions in order to focus on the higher tasks at hand. I must create. I cannot be sidetracked. I no longer drink, smoke, fuck, or do drugs. I don’t even laugh.
Q: All right, but when you say “create,” how do you define the concept of creation when it comes to post-modern art, because—
A: –WAIT! I have it.
Q: What do you have?
A: A new project.
Q: That’s great. What does it entail?
A: Have you ever wrapped yourself entirely in latex, been injected with a tranquilizer and subsequently been glued to a wall?
Q: Uhh … nope. Can’t say that I have.
A: Have you ever bathed in the congealed juices at the bottom of a dumpster?
Q: Have you?
A: Have you ever felt the feel of a flaccid penis flop against your cheek as you ran through the streets of Paris?
A: You see, I have a vision. This interview process, it’s so invasive. So raw. But how do I capture that? How do I construct your aim to deconstruct?
Q: Well, how do you normally incorporate the concept of deconstruction into your artwork?
A: I—uh—I deconstruct what I’ve constructed.
Q: Okay, well does Derrida’s position on the way a text – or in this case, I’ll speak more generally, artistic endeavor – is always “incomplete” play a role in your work? How have his writings influenced you?
A: Are you hungry?
Q: Would you like to talk about something else? You just seemed keen to discuss your artistic process.
A: To be honest, I don’t think you would understand.
Q: Please, try me.
A: It’s like this: Everything is art. Anything is art. I can make art, I can think art, I can shit out art, for chrissake.
Q: Okay. Mr. Franco, how would you defend yourself against critics who say that your art is…not really art? That your main aim is to shock viewers, because you have a little too much money from that Spiderman franchise, and a little too much free time on your hands?
A: Man, you are RAW. I mean it. I want you to take part in my latest artistic endeavor. I know I have those plastic baggies filled with that homeless dude’s piss lying around here somewhere….
Q: Mr. Franco, I really don’t know if that’s something I’m up for. Let’s talk about intention—you’ve talked a lot about that when it came to your work with nonexistent art.
A: Ha! Did you know that started out as a joke?
Q: And now it’s serious?
A: Well, I mean, yeah. If people agree to buy it, it’s art. Right?
Q: That’s certainly one way to look at it. So, what inspires you? What people, images, concepts, and ideas prompt you to begin a new project?
A: Basically, I’m all about trying to do what hasn’t been done. What people won’t do because they are too afraid, or too self-conscious, or worried that taking part will land them as a registered sex offender for the next seven years. That’s what my art is about.
Q: But what does being a sex offender have to do with art? Unless you’re Nabokov, it must be a little hard to pull that off, right?
A: I’m not a fucking communist, if that’s what you think.
Q: No, he’s a –
A: –I mean, capitalism sucks, too. Don’t get me wrong, I’m against that, too. I watch Michael Moore’s movies.
Q: Okay, let’s try to wrap things up a bit. You wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street a few years ago that insisted your work on the daytime television show, General Hospital, was “performance art.” Why?
A: This is when it gets really meta, so listen closely: I was performing a performance of my own artistic performance.
Q: So, you believe the self is a performance?
A: Dude, I was acting. I knew you wouldn’t understand.