Edie Sedgwick, who lived hyperreality
She is Edie Sedgwick in this image. She was Andy Warhol’s superstar and America’s it girl in 1960s. Also, Edie was Andy Warhol’s muse and participated in his factory as a model and actress. She was famous for her fashion style such as short haircut, exaggerated eye makeup and bold and oversized earrings. In short, she was absolute America’s style icon in 1960s. However, her life was upside down, after drifted apart from Andy Warhol. She faced many troubles ranging from her career as a model to drug addiction. None of fashion magazines wanted to work with her because she was considered as ‘vulgar’ at that time. Eventually she died of her drug addiction in 1971.
In this picture, taken by photographer, Jerry Schatzberg in 1966, Edie wears her typical style with cigarette and a cup of drink which she enjoyed. The major point in this image that I paid attention is that Edie in the picture has multiple and blurred figures. That blurriness reminds me an uncertainty of real existence even though I know that she lived reality. Moreover, her pose looks natural like a paparazzi shot, but actually it is edited. In this image, she is like fog and fake. I could find almost every symbol of her style and life even in this picture.
I have thought this image can be related to consumerism. It represents the perspective on consumerism, but I represented in perspective like Jean Baudrillard. At first, while discussing about Baudrillard’s reading with my group members, I thought his idea about America was too sarcastic. However, I found that his comment of reality of America was somewhat appropriate when talking about people like celebrities. Celebrities like Edie Sedgwick. While reading Baudrillard’s comments, I could find that her difficulties was not only oriented from her personal experiences when she was young, which is her father’s sexual violence and brother’s death because of her father, but also from the trend at that time, which is consumerism. What I mean is that, she was kind of good or consumer product. Many teenagers in 1960s wanted to be like her and consumed her images. They wanted to follow every single her style and behavior. In the movie, Factory Girl, there was a scene that paparazzi took a picture of her even in restaurant which was private area. For Edie, eating dinner was her reality, but since that was seen by the public, I think that reality was not a reality anymore (Factory Girl. DVD). She became an it girl and famous as she wanted, but she could not live her own real life. It is like between the reality and unreality. It is hyperreality (Baudrillard 28).
The reason why I choose image about Edie Sedgwick is that I think she is an archetype who lived in the boundary of reality and dream. As I mentioned above, she lived in hyperreality. I have also watched the movie about her. In the movie, Factory Girl, Edie suffered from personal problem and the movie sheds a light on her life just in internal point of view, such as how things happened and how she felt about changes and difficulties around her. However, I thought the fundamental reason why she suffered from such problems might be related to consumerism. I think her life can be viewed in macro way of thinking, which is consumerism, and especially in perspective of Jean Baudrillard. Therefore, I decide to write my manifesto by interviewing Edie Sedgwick again like in the movie. However, this time, the interview in manifesto will be directed by asking a question in perspective of more like macro thinking, unlike the way in the movie.
Factory Girl. Dir. George Hickenlooper. The Weinstein Company & MGM. 2006. DVD.
Baudrillard,Jean. America. London and New York. 1986. Print
Interview with Edie Sedgwick
At Andy Warhol’s Factory
May 12, 2013
Liz Hello, Edie. How have you been?
Edie Good. Really. You know, I’ve never been here since Andy and I broke up. The place reminds me of old memories. Actually, it’s also long time to have an interview with someone. Nobody wanted to work with me once. It’s really nice to work again.
Liz Sounds nice. Today, I’d like to talk about you and Andy Warhol, and consumerism.
Edie Consumerism? Nobody has asked me about it. You know, I’m just a model and an actress, not a philosopher or sociologist.
Liz It’s okay. I’ll not ask you about consumerism directly. You don’t have to even know what it means. You can just talk about you.
Okay, let’s get started. How’s it like being an icon for the teenagers? Diana Vreeland, editor of Vogue, even described you as an American’s next it-girl in 1960s.
Edie I’ve heard that and that’s easy question… or maybe not. I always wanted to be famous. As everybody knows, even though my family had prestigious reputation and very old money, I did like them. I just wanted to escape from them. After I met Andy and became famous, it was like awesome. I could run away from my father. Moreover, I enjoyed my freedom to the fullest. Being in movies, taking my photos, travelling to Paris to promote Andy’s movie… Everyone knew me and everyone called me a superstar. It was like living in love. It was really excited, at first.
Liz At first? How’s it going after then?
Edie Did you see ‘Poor Little Rich Girl’ that I acted in?
Liz Yes. I had a huge success in Paris, didn’t it?
Edie Yes, and I became just like that. Poor little rich girl, I think that’s who I am. It’s not like self-pity. I mean, it was becoming like that. I knew that many teenage girls wanted to be like me. But the thing is, even though they wanted to be like me, and paparazzi took my photos and consumed my image, there was no me. I mean, of course, I did exist and the person on movies or magazines was me, but not me anymore. I realize this thing after I broke up with Andy. After I broke up with him, nobody wanted to work with me. Even Diana. She said that people thought that I became vulgar. But I wasn’t changed at all, even though I was suffered from drug addict at that time and has many scandals which were not true. Changed thing was the eye that people looked at me. That means, ‘Edie’ that people like was not me. It was kind of imagination.
Liz Is the way that you feel like related to the way Andy treated you? Some people say he treated you like a product.
Edie The way Andy treated me… First of all, I want to say, he and I were really good friend. I don’t know how we became like this. I think there were some misunderstandings. Secondly, I think inevitably, I became a product since I was in his movies. Consumerism! He thought consumerism in a somewhat good way because he felt he was like other famous person like president in that consuming same product. On the other hand, he threw America’s consumerism back in the space by turning ordinary objects into iconic. Now, I’m thinking that I might be the one. I mean, the thing that turned into the icon. That’s me.
Liz What do you think about that?
Edie It was like living in a hyperreality, like someone said about America. I think that word represent my life well. I lived reality in that I am a real person, but I lived unreal in that I was someone’s dream, desire and immediate visibility. For the most people, I was just icon that they consumed.
Liz What makes you in that way? Many people said you died because of your experiences in childhood, but I think there is more than that.
Edie Well…some reason of my death could be found from my earlier experiences and others from… I don’t know how exactly say. Let me break it down. Bob Dylan who I loved said Andy just used me. Like his property. He also said I have to be angry at him. I think if we had talked about our misunderstandings, things would have been worse like that. I broke up with not only Andy, but also Bob. We needed to talk face-to-face, not through the media.
Liz This is the last question. What would you like to talk to Baudrillard who I talked to you before the interview?
Edie Oh, the guy, you said, who might have blamed on me if we had met! Umm… I want to say… yes, as he said, I lived kind of hyperreality. But, I am real person and I think my life was full of greatness, sometimes sad, though. So please, don’t blame on me! Also, don’t be too judgmental. America is real! America’s some aspect of hyperreality itself is America’s reality!
Liz Okay, thank you so much for taking your time to talk with me today.
Edie No problem.