Ryan Trecartin & Lizzie Fitch
KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin
By TRAVIS JEPPESEN, NOV. 2014
Site Visit is the name of Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin's recent exhibition in Berlin. The show is divided into two parts: sound and video, (Though the video part also includes sound, naturally.) The sound installation is in a green carpeted foyer area leading in to the video installation. It consists of rows of electric leather arm chairs that allow you to adjust your seating position into a laying one via an array of buttons, which also make the chairs rumble and vibrate, like those old motel beds that took a quarter. Rumble and vibrate to the rumbles and vibrations of the music being blasted quite loud by the surrounding speakers – discordant bass rhythms. Less composed music, it's more like mutant alien ghetto blaster sonicscapes. Very shit-your-pants rumbly, and with green martian lights beneath each of the armchairs shining out, turning the floor into a production.
Vibrato as a lifestyle choice. The aliens live in each of us. You remove your ass from your armchair and make your way into the video room. Along the way, further layer of sounds are discovered: before you make your way down the stairs, you are further blasted with more speakers, silver plattering out a thin slice of fuzzy and distorted beach sounds. Moving past, you reach the apex, the video room with six screens and seats aimed in all directions, including the ceiling, where one of the screens can be found.
Filmed in a former Masonic temple in Los Angeles, the video work features Trecartin and Fitch’s regular ensemble, who will be familiar to anyone who has seen the duo’s past efforts like I-BE Area or Center Jenny. The essentially cultic nature of the artist's productions makes total sense transferred to the abandoned shell of the freemasons’ headquarters. Impossible, like their earlier work, to summarize, the impression one gets is of a group trapped in a cross between a reality TV show—this time, something like Ghost Hunters—and a Blair Witch-style horror flick, yet with the cameras moving too fast, the caricatures each person inhabits speaking too fast and egomaniacally to bother with the making of sense. Nonetheless, given the maximalist intensity and the all-overness of the installation’s presentation, you can readily lose yourself in it for an hour or more. For those following the path, it is a pivotal stop on Fitch and Trecartin’s ongoing exploration of presence in the digital age. WM
Travis Jeppesen's novels include The Suiciders, Wolf at the Door, and Victims. He is the recipient of a 2013 Arts Writers grant from Creative Capital/the Warhol Foundation. In 2014, his object-oriented writing was featured in the 2014 Whitney Biennial and in a solo exhibition at Wilkinson Gallery in London. A collection of novellas, All Fall, is forthcoming from Publication Studio.view all articles from this author