20 November 2013

Initiation Rites

Trying to describe the videos of artist Ryan Trecartin isn't easy, but it's always interesting to watch someone give it a go. Summing up the underlying themes of identity formulation, socialization, and the contemporary mediascape is easy enough; but how to coney a sense of the work's imagery, energy, and frenetically interwound structures? Perhaps one of the best encapsulations I've encountered recently was by a writer who described them as, "If Facebook had a nightmare." Not bad, but that's not nearly the half of it. It's like if Jack Smith and Alex Bag somehow had a child who went off his Ritalin and -- for therapeutic purposes -- starting making videos of his own. But that desn't quite cover it, either.

Anyway. Tracartin's latest, CENTER JENNY, was one of four films that Trecartin recently debuted at at the Venice Biennale. This time, Trecartin opts for pointedly collegiate setting, with the results coming across in part like a "Mondo"-styled ethnographic study of sorority rush week. CENTER JENNY was recently hosted for a week's duration over at the Vdrome website. For those that missed it, it's presently up at Vimeo.

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