Ryan Trecartin (1981) is one of the most daring artists working with video in current days. His movies are a mixture of performance arts, sitcoms and hypnotic digital collages, like the result of a collaboration between Bosch and Keith Haring, or if Facebook just had a nightmare.

Shot in a former Masonic temple in Los Angeles – a five-story warren of large, cavernous rooms akin to a windowless convention center – “Temple Time” unfolds like a horror-movie group expedition in a campsite wasteland. Exploring the mildly eerie wilderness substitute, the characters talk about what they see instead of how they feel, giving the impression that everything they encounter is a discovery. For some characters these discoveries feel like memories of events that are about to repeat – the past and the future seem to occur simultaneously via overlapping layers of reality. The use of different video-capturing technologies – including handheld cameras, drones, and GoPro cameras mounted to the actors’ bodies – offers numerous perspectives and vantage points, reinforcing Trecartin’s exploitation of cinematic discontinuities. In “Temple Time”, purpose and agency are constantly delayed and the multi-linear narratives are expressed in a networked sense of time.

Trecartin’s family and circle of friends are performing in his movie, managing sophisticated digital manipulations of materials stripped from pop culture and the Internet’s bowels, as well as wild animations and aesthetic scenarios and performances. His works conjure worlds where consumer culture is amplified to absurd qualities and nihilistic proportions where characters must ultimately find meaning in their lives. With a virtuosic use of colors, shapes, hysterical performances and hallucinating montages, Trecartin produces sublime effects that reach for an unknown yet true form of reality.


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