Rainer Judd is a filmmaker and the daughter of the artist Donald Judd. As a result, Rainer experienced how space informs sensitivity and, in return, how sensitivity shapes space. We wanted to ask her about how our surroundings could influence our ability to seduce someone. Read our interview with Rainer below as we explore further our “Design & Desire” series. Photography from Allday’s very own, Cheryl Dunn.
Have you ever walked into a man’s apartment curated to attract female acquaintances, and could you tell?
Sure. You can often tell when somebody is trying to be somebody they are not versus natural, messy, human.
What would be your definition of seduction?
Seduction is a unique combination of aspects just like a person is. One man can be seductive because he is determined with street smarts, physical prowess and original ways to get your attention. A different man can be a little shy, but still determined, not a lot of street smarts but highly focused and gifted in what he does in his life and how he approaches you.
How does design or art influence our ability to seduce?
Architecture can nearly do it alone. Great architecture has scale, proportion, weight (like a Rembrandt painting), lightness, natural light, and decisive dark areas. You feel the structure of the place; the walls allow you to understand the structure in some way. If there are ornate aspects, they are complementing all these other components. It is designed for the temperatures and lifestyle of the culture and place. So if it’s in a desert, it has cool terra cotta floors, tall windows, and thick walls. When the design of a building connects with the weather and environment of a place then that intelligence is seductive. You feel more human… and less like you’re visiting a space colony. Artificial air is not sexy. Heat can be. Fire, radiant heat, these are much sexier than forced air. Forced air is particularly not sexy as heat. Have you ever been in a hot tub heated from a wood-burning stove? Very hot.
“Freedom is a renewable energy.”
Design comes from human feelings, needs, imagination, and sometimes tradition. Design that makes you think twice, like some art, with its combination of originality—stemming from one person’s desire to bring into existence shapes, colors, textures, forms that can be utilized, this can be exciting. Art and design that have freedom of thought within them, where you can just feel that someone was in touch with the nonverbal, non intellectual (shall we say their unconscious) this can achieve an excitement that is worth having about the home. Freedom is a renewable energy. Not everyone seems to understand this. Freedom is like a fire that good art, design, architecture, music, writing and people can help remind you to burn well. Freedom is not a stale condition. It is like air, water, and once again, fire. An element that some of us have honed in different fields. One might have freedom in cooking or making art, but all closed off in sex and dialogue. Freedom I’d say is also like a muscle. You can grow it. Freedom of imagination is a great asset. Meaning that if you have freedom in life you can dream up and make some great feast. You can make love like you just got to planet Earth. You can look at the world from different planes than the status quo. Freedom is contagious. This is part of the role of art, all art, today, I’m quite sure: to lift us out of sleeping systems, to activate our innate wisdom. To get us rowdy and messy, feeling joy and grief at the same time. This is what it is to be alive. The more that design and architecture are both reflecting brilliant age-old wisdom about our human needs— food, air quality and temperature, small spaces, big spaces—the more in tune we are and more at peace we are with this elegant existence called being human. It’s only elegant now, when all these resources surround us that we can have our place set up for our needs. I actually think I’d fathom to say that a man or woman who is logical about their own human comforts is very seductive. For them to share such comforts with you, it can be quite nice.
What’s the positive opposite of seduction?
Honesty. Levi’s. I just looked up seduce in a 1964 dictionary and part of the definition is to lead astray, to even mislead. Not sure if this is our contemporary understanding because I feel like most of us have a fairly happy feeling about this word and its act. Seduction to me is, at its best, alchemical. So advanced in the myriad of components that come together to make fire that one would truly have to get a PhD to break apart the multiple tenets of attraction: the smell for one, the smiling eyes, for two. The match of two forces of equal daring and play.
I’ve been to a dude’s place where seats were from his truck. Now the practicality and situation of that was kind of hot. Don’t run from logic.
Is the cliché “woman = prey, man = predator” outdated?
I don’t think it is completely outdated because that primal relationship still appeals to us. Some might block that appeal with their mind but they will feel it when it is strong. If a place is seductive, first and foremost to you, then it will appeal to someone else too. Just like making art. Start with yourself. That’s all you can know and do well. The complex likes and dislikes you have make a picture. The colors, textures, surfaces that appeal to you will appeal to some.
What would be your “map of seduction”?
I think a really great wine can be sexier than a cocktail.
Sexy chair: Mies van der Rohe
Sofa: a Judd library bed.
Books: “Our band could be your life,” “A Moveable Feast,” “Orgasms for Two.”
Records: Otis Redding, Billie Holiday, David Bowie, So many !…. Classical, depending on where you are. Willie Nelson is a welcoming voice.
Light: Kerosene lamp. I like the draughtsman lamps. I’ve been around an awful lot of bare bulbs in my life. And I don’t mind them but don’t have them in my own place.
Unexpected: Foot massage with a cold beer on the arches of my foot on a hot day.
Surprises: Food. Performance. A song. Play your guitar. Vulnerability. I once drove 36 hours in two and a half days from New York to New Mexico to be welcomed with a Corton-Charlemagne. I will never forget it.