Ryan Trecartin: An Interview

2010 | 00:53:51 | United States | English | Color | Mono | 4:3 | Video

Collection: On Art and Artists, Interviews, Single Titles

Tags: Family, Gender, Interview, LGBTQ, Media Analysis, Multimedia, Performance, VDB Interviews, Visiting Artists Program, Visual Art

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In this interview, Los Angeles-based artist and filmmaker Ryan Trecartin (b. 1981) discusses his personal interests and motivations, as well as the larger cultural and philosophical concerns that shape his videos and their reception. Trecartin is known for his construction of non-linear narratives, campy costumes, and excessively visceral characters and environments. One of the most compelling aspects of this interview is his insistence that language and its verbal articulation, rather than the visual, anchor his process. Trecartin identifies the influences of 1990s retro-rave culture, hip-hop videos, and editing software tools on his work. He notes that the accelerated disintegration of high and low culture has played a major part in his growth as an artist.

Since 2006, when Trecartin received several high-ranking awards, including the New Artist of the Year Award from the Guggenheim in New York, his work has been the object of much art world scrutiny. Charting his development from his teenage years constructing sets in his basement in rural Ohio, to the production of his videos with long-time collaborator Lizzy Fitch at the Rhode Island School of Design, to his current practice, this interview tracks Trecartin’s evolution as a scriptwriter, network-builder, and savvy interpreter of entertainment systems. Moreover, the artist’s explanation of the “party” and his interest in “research” as an object itself, provides an especially rich contextualization his work. This interview offers insight into how Trecartin’s videos can be understood as surprisingly optimistic models for collaborative art- and self-making today. 

-- Faye Gleisser

Interview conducted in April 2010 by Shane Campbell, edited in 2014.