The evening after I checked out the preview of Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin’s Priority Innfield – a series of sculptural theatres where four interconnected films “that touch upon our changing relationship to the camera and its influence on conceptions of history, evolution and selfhood” are continually screened – I tried to explain the experience of watching the films and negotiating the fabricated space between them to my girlfriend. Despite my enthusiastic attempt, I’m pretty sure I failed.
However, I laughed a good bit during my spiel (as did she, with raised eyebrows). I reached for concepts I don’t normally talk about too and certainly conveyed a sense of ‘wow, that was really messed up – I loved it!’ to her. The show, free to view at Zabludowicz Collection near Chalk Farm Tube station for the next couple of months, left me babbling, challenged, and reaching for underused language. If you’re looking for a freebie mindfuck woven with scathing social commentary (and who isn’t?), see this show.
Priority Innfield is the first UK solo exhibition by Lizzie Fitch/Ryan Trecartin. A reconfiguration of an installation initially seen at the 2013 Venice Biennale, the exhibition features a quartet of films that (and maybe this is just my own humble opinion) question the substance, meaning and relevance of the overload of media dumped upon society at an ever increasingly scale while implicating viewer complicity.
One film in particular, Item Falls, especially grabbed my attention. Filmed at Fitch and Trecartin’s shared home in Los Angeles, Item Falls shows “multiple performers [including artist Trecartin himself] seemingly trapped in a perpetual audition while being assailed by animation effects.” With its actors shot in awkward camera angles as they spout self congratulatory monologues with gibberish lines like “once upon an industry standard,” an onscreen world of meaningless communication in the name of vapid expression is suggested with all of us on either side of that screen participating in gloating complicity. Garish colours and arbitrary animation heightened the snarling absurdity in this satirical poke at the gawking gaze of reality television and the desire of fame for the sake of fame.
Fitch and Ryan’s work is jarring to say the least. I reckon that’s a good thing though as my takeaway from this show was that maybe we need to a jostle now and again to remind us there’s life beyond the screens we’re constantly staring at and jabbering into. I highly recommend setting aside the time to give Priority Innfield a thorough visit.
Priority Innfield runs from 2 October to 21 December at Zabludowicz Collection, 176 Prince of Wales Road, NW5 3PT. Find out more at zabludowiczcollection.com.