Creators Radical Friend, whose installation Digital Flesh traveled the world with us a couple of years back, scanning faces and compiling them as part of a giant amorphous organism, recently guided The Avant/Garde Diaries on a tour through the world of video and installation artist Ryan Trecartin. You might remember Trecartin’s work because it left a funny, tingly, itchy feeling on the inside of your brain last time you watched one of his videos, with their jarring, John Waters-esque oddness. The way Radical Friend’s Kirby McClure describes it, “It makes you question, is this art or is it some kind of YouTube, reality TV, cable television on diet pills, amphetamine-fueled characters that are thrown together?”
Good question! And the very line that his art walks is what makes it avant-garde, and the reason that Radical Friend find it so compelling. This video itself follows McClure and his partner Julia Grigorian on a virtual acid trip in Los Angeles, where they explore the concepts of Trecartin’s work and how they interpret it from the perspective of their own craft.
While the colors, masks, and slowed down audio are pretty kitsch, it seems like the most appropriate way to explore Trecartin’s work. Watching one of his videos in quick succession after this one will take that brain-tingly feeling and turn it into some kind of alien anesthetic numbness. This video art is so effective in invoking feeling that, after it, no amount of visual stimulation will feel up to par.
Check out our video feature on Radical Friend below…