Ryan Trecartin

September 10, 2008 - December 7, 2008



Ryan Trecartin’s videos uncannily reflect his generation, which was raised using the Internet, digital television, and interactive video games. He mixes cheap special effects with absurd narratives in which he and his cast of collaborator-friends act out a sort of Lord of the Flies for the 21st Century. He tells sad love stories and bizarre family dramas utilizing technology to heighten the action and reflect the information overload we all experience today. In his latest work I-BE AREA, 2007, Trecartin weaves together several unruly stories with fast-moving, fast-talking characters that deal with such themes as cloning, adoption, self-mediation, life-style options, virtual identities and larger questions of an existential nature. I-BE AREA (108 min) will be shown on the hour every other hour in the Hammer’s Video Gallery.


About the Exhibition

By Kevin McGarry

The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. “That's not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.” —A senior adviser to George W. Bush, quoted in Ron Suskind, “Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W. Bush,” New York Times Magazine, October 17, 2004

The logic that twirls the fiendishly tortuous narrative of Ryan Trecartin’s second feature-length video, I-BE AREA (2007), is grounded in a powerful understanding of our new millennial world as composed of manifold realities that are created, copied, or canceled at the will of life’s advanced players. The guiding drama of the video is how the ensemble cast of shifting, splintered identities exploits, submits to, or breaks free of the existential frictions caused by inhabiting multiple realities at once—through different public personas, online avatars, the ongoing lives of cloned versions of yourself (or, if you happen to be a clone, any new identities you download for yourself), the erasures of previous identities that have been overwritten, or the old standby of children serving as vessels for anything you’ve ever wanted to be but aren’t. An “Area” functions as a coalescence of a character’s accumulated realities, the turf to which the character is symbiotically and metaphysically bonded. The course of the film is a complete unraveling of I-Be’s Area, which is to say of itself. More

Kevin McGarry is a writer and film/video programmer living in Brooklyn and Philadelphia. He was a codirector of the New York Underground Film Festival and now codirects the organization that grew out of it, Migrating Forms, which will present its first festival in spring 2009.

Organized by Hammer Curator Ali Subotnick.


Hammer Projects is made possible with major gifts from Susan Bay-Nimoy and Leonard Nimoy and The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation.

Additional generous support is provided by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Good Works Foundation and Laura Donnelley, the David Teiger Curatorial Travel Fund, and Fox Entertainment Group’s Arts Development Fee. Gallery brochures are underwritten in part by the Pasadena Art Alliance.

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