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Tuesday 09.23.08

« Natural Selection, Art Focus | Main | fourteen30 opens »

Be What?: Ryan Trecartin's "I-Be Area"

" I-Be Area", Ryan Trecartin 2008, Courtesy Elizabeth Dee Gallery

I Be Areaaaaaaaaaaaauhhhhhhh. Who you be. What you be. When you be you, I'll be me. . .but I have to indulge first. Call me by My Space and my color. Say what you mean PLEASE. Because
and so fucking bored. . . . All this non linearity is making me hungry for profundity. Poetry is the buzz word of a generation bloated from its deficiencies in Diet Coke and Sartre. What's my name? What's my Name? WHAT'S MY NAME? Uh. Say my name. say my name. say my name. When no one is around you, say, "Baby, I love you." Did you hear me? I can't believe this is happening! Where is he, Paulo? The muffins are burning! Urgency in all of these emergencies, but I didn't do it for the right reason. I asked him for more. It's just not fair that I'm an artist; my mother made me this way. She just doesn't understand bright yellow ambition. Fuck it. Calvin Klein never wanted any of this. But in Sally's world, he is God, and you know what that means: more sunscreen.

So much fun and so little time.
So much freedom and so much imovie.

The abstract striation of thoughts and impulses to be found and gorged upon in Ryan Trecartin's film "I-Be Area" is an invitation to both freedom and farce. Featured in this year's Time Based Art Festival, "I-Be Area" stood alone in film and genre in the midst of the rest of the festival. What is this film? Who are these artists? Why should we watch them or care at all about this work? To sit through the film in its entirety is somewhat of a feat, albeit a fun one. And for some, it is too much. Yet, there is truly nothing else like it. This is not a linear narrative, but more of a portrait of a time; plus pure pleasure; plus endless, blatant self-indulgence; satire; disdain; and hard work; and then some more self-indulgence; and then some more pleasure. I-Be Area is a sumptuous visual feast which becomes gluttony, yet not without purpose. Form and content are a psychedelic, kaleidoscopic string theorem which seem to skip hand in hand down the lane and around the area, a la Dick and Jane, or perhaps, ahem, Dick and Dick.

"I-Be Area" Ryan Trecartin 2008, courtesy Elizabeth Dee Gallery

Besides Trecartin's piece being some of the most hilarious self reflective satire, the film was some of the best painting I have seen in quite some time, but this is the norm for this group of uber talented art school kids who graduated as a collective known as the "Experimental People". Art and life are one and the same in theory and practice to these artists, and because of this, their work renders a poignance to the time like little else in an age Peter Schejldahl recently described as "sad and lost".

Trecartin's first feature length film, I-Be Area gives form and shape to this age of everything and nothing. The seemingly improvised script onscreen is actually really good writing, if not so well rehearsed. It is at once too much and too long and must be if it is to be true to itself. It is not easy, but beautiful and haunting. The characters interact cartoonishly in and endless array of high speed, ironically poignant non sequiturs as Trecartin himself leads them through their labyrinthine identity crisis. To edit this film in the name of eloquence or 'taste' would discipline it, rendering it safe and dead. The film is self critical and sincere and a raspberry followed by a wet sloppy kiss to the withered face of academia. Much of the film is centered around the importance of play, to a reliance on impulse rather than polish. It is childish and profound and infuriatingly brilliant because it screws the status quo.

More specifically, I-Be Area cantilevers the search for identity in a pluralistic, multi-faceted cyberspace age with the blur of a gendered chaos starring as the essence of a truly free expression. In a gallery setting, it is difficult to feel the full effect of I-Be Area, and one misses much of the hilarity of the piece. The gallery context grants the film its painterly-ness, its (Paul) McCarthyesque physicality and anal indulgence. Yet, most of the poignant social colloquial satire and humor are lost, and of course the epic grandeur of such loads of chaos are also diminished. The film is, at its best, viewed in its entirety or sectioned into its naturally occurring vignettes. Trecartin is a natural performer, and his record scratch monologues almost invite one to dance.

I left the Whitsell Auditorium elated. Trecartin's work makes light of the possible heady nature of a culture sometimes too enriched to focus. He turns it into brilliant play, an oversized multicolor rubber band ball thrown into an empty room to bounce infinitely, its patterns then traced, then sampled, mixed, placed around himself and all of his friends in costume for a giant commentary party, then edited for more visual layers. Lovely.

"I-Be Area", Ryan Trecartin 2008, Courtesy Elizabeth Dee Gallery

Posted by Amy Bernstein on September 23, 2008 at 9:00 | Comments (2)


I-Be Area is still on view at as part of The New Absurdists, open Wed - Sat / Noon- Six / Until Oct 4, 2008. at the Leftbank. The address for the building is 240 N Broadway, however, the entrance to the show is on Wheeler closer to Weidler.

Posted by: Kristan Kennedy [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 23, 2008 04:33 PM

And available for free on ubu web. http://www.ubu.com/film/trecartin.html

Posted by: cyrus [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 27, 2008 04:03 PM

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