Ryan Trecartin, Temple Time, 2016. Movie still. Courtesy of the artist
6 Apr – 30 Sep 2019
PROGRAM C

2016
Video HD, 54’, 32”

Shot in a former Masonic temple in Los Angeles—a five-story warren of large, cavernous rooms akin to a windowless convention center— Temple Time plays out like a horror-movie group expedition in a campsite wasteland. Echoing the logic and narrative structure of video games, it is the context that determines a character’s access to personal agency. While characters in earlier works by Trecartin are able to activate their free will, in Temple Time it is the building itself that undergoes dynamic change, imposing its own will on the unfolding action. The humans and post-human hybrids are proxies, like players in a game— they are ambiguously themselves but also empty, temporary vessels, ready to engage another limited reality or mode inside the “system.” Exploring the mildly eerie wilderness substitute, the characters talk about what they see rather than how they feel, giving the impression that everything they encounter is a discovery. And yet while roaming the abandoned temple, there is a disconcerting feeling of being temporally located “after” something world-changing has occurred, without any indication of precisely what that might be, or even if that “something” is real at all. […] Characters anticipate their future and past simultaneously, as both are malleable “locations”—there is no order to events, no linear experience. This parallels the viewer’s own combination of lived experience, memory, and the present. The use of different
video-capturing technologies —including handheld cameras, drones, and GoPro action cameras mounted to the actors’ bodies—offers numerous perspectives and vantage points, reinforcing Trecartin’s exploitation of cinematic unities and dislocations. — Fitch Trecartin Studio