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By Marie-Jeanne Brouillette Copy Edited by Kimberly Glassman


Vulnerabilityand andInjustice: Injustice: Vulnerability The newrelatable relatable The new “This is really what is striking about Trecartin’s video: even if the characters seem crazy and out of this world, they all share vulnerability and an innate sense of injustice. They feel like the world is against them”

Junior War, 2013, film stills HD-video, 24:08 min., © RYAN TRECARTIN, courtesy Andrea Rosen Galler

t was at the Venice biennale of 2013 that I discovered the artist Ryan Trecartin for the first time. However it was this summer, at the Musée d’art contemporain (MAC) that I had the opportunity to rediscover Trecartin’s work from a different perspective. Trecartin makes video art that is inspired by an imagined future television reality show or online streaming. Most of his videos are overly saturated with colors, effects, makeup, decors, and other props. He creates scenarios where the characters seem to develop a mini-hierarchy that soon turns into anarchy. The norms of montage are totally ignored, phrases and scenes overlap, there is usually no sense of time or narration that follows a particular order.

Trecartin’s video laughs at the new Internet generation of entitlement and instantaneity. He makes the spectator uncomfortable with a load of effects and scenes overlapping each other. We feel constantly disrupted and distracted by another scene, another thought that comes through the video. The hamster is always running. Is injustice, vulnerability and drama the new relatable? Next time you have a conversation with your friends, listen. You will be surprised at what it is that really brought you together.

At the MAC this summer (2016), a collection of his videos was accompanied by the immersive installations of Lizzie Fitch for the exhibition Priority Innfield. The installation invited the spectator to sit in a physical space similar to what was presented in Trecartin’s videos, thus inviting the spectator to become a part of the artwork. One of his videos caught my attention more than the others: Junior War (2013).

Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal, Lizzie Fitch/Ryan Trecartin, Priority Innfield (2013), Pamphlet, 2016

Compared to Trecartin’s other staged videos, Junior War was realised with real clips from his teenage years back in 1999, when he was about to graduate from high school. The video is unsaturated; filmed at night with a night vision camera, it is quite dark in comparison to his other brightly coloured works. The video commences at a party in the woods with a group of friends. They are drinking, smoking, engaging in the illicit and the unpermitted. What I find tainted the video is the fact that the adolescents are swearing and complaining about the cops coming at them, which they claim “didn’t have probable cause to fucking pull us over.”

Solway Diane, ‘’What You Need to Know About Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin, the Artists Behind Kendall and Gigi’s W Cover Story’’, W Magazine, 20th October 2016, http://www., Accessed on 25th October 2016

This is really what is striking about Trecartin’s video: even if the characters seem crazy and out of this world, they all share vulnerability and an innate sense of injustice. They feel like the world is against them. This is mainly why the adolescents relate so well to each other, they have a common sense of injustice.When we think about it, injustice has the power to rally groups of people together. Sometimes it is for grand causes, as seen throughout history, but other times it is for mundane everyday injustices. How many times have we bonded with someone because we could share our struggle and vulnerability with them? On social media, the feelings of injustice and the subsequent request for freedom of expression is constantly circulated through both credible sources – news, journals and such – but also through personals accounts that share their very intimate experiences and sometimes can light fire to gasoline. new_movies/


Further reading Glazek Chris, ‘’Junior War’’, Electronic Arts Intermix, http://, Accessed on October 20th 2016

Neil T.D. Jonathan, ‘’Ryan Trecartin: Four New Movies’’, Art Review, April 1st 2014, ryan_trecartin_four_new_movies/, Accessed on October 25th 2016 Artist’s video home page

Vulnerability and Injustice by Marie-Jeanne Brouillette  

Copy-edited by Kimberly Glassman

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