CalArts, Bijou Theater
“Kerry Tribe works primarily in film, video, and installation. Focusing on the mechanics of representation—particularly cinematic representation—its metaphoric potential and its engagement with reality, her art addresses processes of thought and their relationship to subjectivity, narrative, place and time. Employing image, text, sound, structure, and space, her work plays upon the internal workings and ingrained habits of the mind, its unavoidable quirks, flaws, and shifting fault-lines. Stimulating both reflexive experience and a reflection upon such experience, she prompts an unusual type of self-consciousness, a disorienting and discomforting awareness of the gaps between perception, cognition, and memory, the fluidity—and ultimate unreliability—of each.” - Cary Levine
Here & Elsewhere (2002) 10:30 min.
In Here & Elsewhere, two synchronized videos are projected side by side, creating a vertical seam where they meet. What might be called the project’s “narrative” revolves around an interview between an older man who remains off camera (British film critic and theoretician Peter Wollen) and a thoughtful ten year old girl (his daughter Audrey). Periodically the visuals cut away to quotidian interior shots of the girl at home and exterior locations in and around Los Angeles. Although the video is structured as a loop, the questions the girl is asked trace a series of themes, each of which builds on the preceding dialogue. As the interview unfolds, their conversation touches on history, memory, intersubjectivity, temporality, epistemology and photography. Wollen’s questions are loosely adapted from FRANCE / TOUR / DETOUR / DEUX / ENFANTS (1978), an experimental video series made for television by Jean-Luc Godard and Anne-Marie Miéville. The relationships that emerge between the images on either side of the central vertical seam serve as a structural score for ideas addressed in the interview, such that the continuity, friction, gaps and overlaps that result from their simultaneity underscore the girl’s desire to speak a coherent articulation of time, space, image and identity.
H.M. (2009) 19 min.
H.M. is a two-channel presentation of a single film based on the true story of an anonymous, memory-impaired man, the famous amnesiac known in scientific literature only as “Patient H.M.” In 1953, when he was 27 years old, H.M. underwent experimental brain surgery intended to alleviate his epilepsy. The unintended result was a radical and persistent amnesia. Though he was no longer able to make lasting memories, his short-term recall, lasting about 20 seconds, remained intact. He lived anonymously in this condition for more than half a century until his death on December 2, 2008, in a Connecticut nursing home. His case is widely credited with revolutionizing our understanding of the organization of human memory.
H.M. consists of a single 16mm film that plays through two adjacent synchronized projectors with a 20 second delay between them, so the viewer sees two simultaneous side-by-side projections of two different parts of the same reel of film. The structure of the installation and the nature of the material together produce a sensation of mnemonic dissonance much like that experienced by Patient H.M.
The roughly 18-minute loop weaves together reenacted, documentary, found and animated elements and lies somewhere between an experimental documentary and an independent narrative film.
Several ancillary projects were produced in conjunction with H.M., including a series of letterpress prints, drawings, and photographs.
The Last Soviet (2010) 10:45 min.
“Shared memories are inevitably an amalgamation of divergent perspectives cobbled together to form a semi-cohesive narrative. Our romance with the indexical nature of photography means that these narratives tend to solidify when accompanied by images; yet our awareness of the fact that mediums using mechanical or digital reproduction are vulnerable to acts of manipulation, has resulted in increased scepticism about the veracity of the photographic image. The Last Soviet reveals that these acts of manipulation are nothing new.” KERRY TRIBE: THE INVENTION OF MEMORY – Anne Elgood
“The Last Soviet (2010) tells the story of Russian cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev, who was stranded on the Mir space station for 311 days in 1991 during the collapse of the Soviet Union. Video footage of a model of the interior of Mir constructed in Tribe’s studio is intercut with various archival materials related to this moment in history, including film footage of a performance of the ballet Swan Lake that was used to censor Russian news broadcasts of the political turmoil, images of tanks on the streets of Moscow, and photographs depicting aspects of the Russian space program. Throughout the image sequences, a male voiceover recounting the forgotten cosmonaut’s story from a personal point of view in English with Russian subtitles alternates with a female voiceover giving a historical account of the period in Russian with English subtitles. Tribe constructed the dialogue, which was recited by actors, so that there is a brief delay between the stories and the images that they apparently explain, enacting the fragmentary nature of historical accounts that are cobbled together through individual memory and bits and pieces of archival documents. Although The Last Soviet deliberately invokes the language of the documentary, it is impossible to distinguish fact from intentional fiction, calling into question the reliability of memory and the ways in which we invoke it to catalog and record our lives.” - Corrina Peipon
Greystone (2012) 30 min.
Greystone, a 30 minute narrative short, revisits one of the 20th century’s most shocking and mysterious society murders. Filmed on location at Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills California, in the very rooms where the killings took place, and using only dialog appropriated from dozens of Hollywood feature films that were also shot within the storied estate, Greystone proposes a series of explanations for how a Los Angeles oil tycoon and his personal assistant might actually have arrived at their deaths.
As a location, Greystone Mansion has become an iconic setting for allusions to excessive and destructive wealth (Indecent Proposal, The Big Lebowski, There Will Be Blood) and to a bizarre space outside the logic of normal social relations (Flowers in the Attic, X-Men, House of the Damned). Taking as a starting point a series of serendipitous relationships between cinematic and actual history, it is perhaps the gaps in those relationships—the distance between cinematic representation and historical account—that become the true subject of the film, resulting in a haunting and at times humorous meditation on the nature of memory, perception and the elusiveness of objective truth.
“The dialogue is both uncannily familiar and awkwardly stilted, as if the actors are skipping lines or reciting from different pages... the script both propels the narrative and fractures the illusion, reminding us that we don’t in fact know what really happened.” - Los Angles Times
Critical Mass, (ongoing) 25 min. performance with Emelie O’Hara and Nick Huff
Hollis Frampton’s groundbreaking experimental film Critical Mass (1971) captures an argument between a couple and cuts it up into a series of rhythmic, repetitive snippets. In this project a live performance of the classic structural film is staged with actors Nick Huff and Emelie O’Hara as the young couple. Critical Mass is Tribe’s first live performance project and continues the investigation into personal and historic memory found in her film and video works.
Kerry Tribe’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at The Power Plant in Toronto, Modern Art, Oxford, Camden Arts Centre in London and Arnolfini in Bristol. It has been included in recent significant exhibitions at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC. The recipient of a Creative Capital grant and a USA Artists Award, her work is in the public collections of The Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum, The Hammer Museum, The Orange County Museum of Art and The Generali Foundation, among others. She was a fellow at the American Academy in Berlin in 2005-2006, received her MFA from UCLA in 2002, and was a Whitney Independent Study Program Fellow from 1997-98. Tribe is represented by 1301PE in Los Angeles, where she currently lives and works.
More information: http://www.kerrytribe.com/