Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Stream Ryan Trecartin's Center Jenny through Nov. 8 at Vdrome

Very high on my to-view list is Center Jenny, a new video by Ryan Trecartin, and one of four that he screened at the Venice Biennale.  In fact, I should probably watch it tonight, because it is only streaming on the Vdrome website channel through November 8.

As the Vdrome about page will tell you, Vdrome is "an online platform that offers regular, high quality screenings of films and videos directed by visual artists and filmmakers, whose production lies in-between contemporary art and cinema." You can consult the Vdrome archive for previous artists and films, but the streams themselves are only available for a limited time.

It is difficult to open the Vdrome Vimeo links outside of the Vdrome page itself, and I've not been able to use my previously described technique of using the myPlex Media Queue to watch Vdrome on my television. This seems like a good scenario for using Chromecast to fling the Chrome tab containing the Vdrome video to my television, because while Trecartin's work is driven by an internet sensibility, I don't want to watch it on a computer.

Quite a bit of Trecartin's earlier work is available on UbuWeb, and I feel less guilty about pointing you there in this context because unlike other work on Ubu, Trecartin's work is there with the artist's permission. As you will see Trecartin is quite prolific, and it is difficult to catch up with his work because it can be somewhat exhausting to keep up with his hyperkinetic style. One place to start might be I-BE-AREA from 2007, the first hour of which I think is absolutely brilliant, followed by a second hour that would be just as great if I hadn't been so exhausted by the first.

Center Jenny (Ryan Trecartin, USA, 2013, 53 minutes)

Vdrome: Ryan Trecartin’s movies unfold like futuristic fever dreams. Collaborating with his cast, Trecartin’s layered aesthetic reveals high-definition uncanniness, wherein digital life dynamics and gamesmanship merge with pop culture histrionics and banality. In CENTER JENNY, part of Trecartin’s presentation at the 55th Venice Biennale, his characters continuously evolve towards a post-human realm through reality show hermeneutics, prosumer rhetoric, and collegiate rituals.

Note: After November 8, the Center Jenny links will simply take you to the Vdrome main page.

I-BE-AREA (Ryan Trecartin, USA, 2007, 105 minutes)

UbuWeb, citing Electronic Arts Intermix Catalog: 

Holland Cotter, writing in The New York Times, describes the "sensationally anarchic" video I-Be Area, in which Trecartin uses what Cotter terms "very basic digital tools to create a highly personal narrative art, almost a kind of folk art."

Cotter writes: "We're in a house of many tight, messy rooms. In the suburbs? Cyberspace? Hard to say. Anyway, it's night. A door bangs open. A girl, who is also a boy, dashes in, talking, talking. Other people are already there, in gaudy attire, dire wigs and makeup like paint on de Koonings. Everyone moves in a jerky, speeded-up, look-at-me way and speaks superfast to one another, to the camera, into a cellphone. Phrases whiz by about cloning, family, same-sex adoption, the art world, the end of the world, identity, blogging, the future. Suddenly indoors turns into outdoors, night into day, and we're at a picnic, in dappled sunshine, with a baby. Then this all reverses, and we're indoors again. A goth band is pounding away in the kitchen. The house is under siege. Hysteria. Everyone runs through the walls."

"...For queer artists of Mr. Trecartin's generation, cross-dressing, cross-identifying and cross-thinking are part of a state of being, not statements of political position. Like the work of John Waters and Jack Smith, his art is about just saying no to life as we think we have seen it and saying yes to zanier, virtual-utopian possibilities."

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