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Love in a time of body pillows…

A while back I watched an episode of 30 Rock with my boyfriend, The Almost Lawyer, which was not only hilarious but explored a strange manifestation of love. In the episode, James Franco (as himself) is Jenna’s contractual love interest. He needs Jenna to pretend to be his girlfriend. The bizarre thing is, Franco has an obsessive love for a Japanese body pillow known as Kimiko. Even more screwy is the fact that these pillows and body dolls are a  real phenomenon for Japanese men.

The funny thing is that there does seem to be evidence that the ‘love’ felt for these pillows is genuine. See this article from the New York Times to prove it: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/26/magazine/26FOB-2DLove-t.html and this clip from iambored.com http://www.i-am-bored.com/bored_link.cfm?link_id=24351  And James Franco’s clear psych affirmation that ‘Men do not love objects.’  The men attracted to the body pillows are apparently not interested in real women, most commonly because of the hurt that can come of human relationships. I wonder also if it’s something to do with these body pillows not having the capacity to talk back.

In relation to my piece, other than thinking about actually getting one of these body pillows to ‘use’ on stage, it got me thinking about what love is again. On dictionary.com it’s described as an ’emotional attraction and feeling of attachment.’ In a Google search it comes up with Nat King Cole’s song ‘Love’, a Wikipedia entry which describes it in its many forms including interpersonal and philosophical and also, a WikiHow piece entitled ‘How to Love’ with a to-do list for loving. Right now, I’m of a mind to sit on stage with a Japanese body pillow for women (although those are turning out to be near impossible to find, looks like I’ll have to make one myself) whilst reading out a to-do list for Love as Nat King Cole’s beautiful song plays in the background.

Yet still I feel no closer to articulating what love is. Nor to getting an audience to feel what love feels like, or feel it’s pain. To the theatre! Time to create.

How about you? Does the idea of a Japanese body pillow challenge your conception of love? Or your conception of conception 😉 ? Have we humans lost our ability to withstand emotional pain to the point of replacing a living breathing loving person with wrapped up feathers? Would be interested to know your thoughts and any advice you might have. 🙂

Here is an excerpt from the 30 Rock episode, enjoy.

Responses (2)

  1. tjeckleberg says:

    Hey Clara –
    This conversation reminds me of the movie Lars and the Real Girl – Have you seen it? Beautiful and moving and strange..
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_6796P01Xo&feature=related

  2. tjeckleberg says:

    And also interesting… interview with the director, Ryan Gosling and Bianca…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbnKM8tJW1U&feature=related