Ryan Trecartin belongs to a generation of artists whose practices are deeply affected by the immediate, circulatory and viral nature of participatory image-making online. Working in video, performance, sculpture, installation and photography, he creates scenarios that are elaborated on with the cooperation of his friends and colleagues.
A family finds entertainment 2004 was made by Trecartin while in his final year at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. The video was first brought to the art world’s attention by artist Sue De Beer, who saw a segment of it on the social networking website Friendster (www.friendster.com). Trecartin continues to make this work, and many others, available through his YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/user/WianTreetin). The narrative loosely follows Trecartin as an unstable homosexual who comes out to his parents, gets hit by a car and is somehow reborn as the life of a rampant party in Trecartin’s New Orleans home. In the video, the internet is a metaphor for a world in which identity and subjectivity are constructed through repetitious bricolage and customisation. The work, with its mix of amateur acting, handheld camera work and digital effects, draws from commercial television, YouTube and the inexhaustible circular citation effect of Wikipedia.