Part of Fall 2008 - A Lower World
Ryan Trecartin’s (born 1981) star first started to rise with his medium-length 2004 video A Family Finds Entertainment (which Pleasure Dome screened in March 2007). Then in fall 2007 the Philadelphia-based artist premiered the feature-length I-Be Area (2007, 108 min., USA) at the Elizabeth Dee Gallery in New York, and confirmed what many people suspected about the young chap: he’s a genius, the love-child of Jack Smith, Pee-Wee Herman, Paperad and YouTube. With whip-smart wit and a candy-coloured whirlwind of camp theatrics, cyber-slang and dumpster drag, Trecartin captures the manic energy of a generation of brains fried by computers and the internet, running on the fumes of their own verbal diarrhea. Fusing queer performance hysterics with hallucinatory, rapid-fire digital manipulation of every surface and sound, Trecartin creates a cracked parallel universe only slightly more surreal and fast-paced than the one we inhabit now.
Playing a number of roles including the lead character, I-Be II, a clone, Trecartin leads a huge cast of friends and family as they exhaustingly reference the state of our minds in the 21st century: “cloning, family, same-sex adoption, the art world, the end of the world, identity, blogging, the future” (Holland Cotter, The New York Times). Delivered in shrieks, their nonsense sputterings contain insights that we wish we had ourselves. In Trecartin’s videos, characters are data, so they can fluidly shift identity, form and affect at the press of a button – not to mention falling out of “acting” and into “being” at the drop of a hat. This utopian power has a dark undercurrent of course, with everyone screaming over each other to be heard, and no stable home or selfhood. The settings too are constantly shifting, though all fall under the rubric of “Jamie’s Area” a “bedroom/classroom/drama department/blog space/Internet-community site where the characters malfunction…”