Sibling Topics (section a) is one of seven works in Trecartin's 2009-2010 Rotation. Kevin McGarry writes, "With the nature of nonsense thoroughly conveyed through the frenetic stasis of K-Corea INC. K's corporate logics, Sibling Topics reverses the pendulum, adopting a narrative and style that is more cinematic than any of Trecartin's other or previous videos. In this sense Sibling Topics counterbalances the circularity of K-Corea INC. K, and together the videos explore polar dimensions of narrative absurdity, along with the persistence of communities (be they corporations, families or both), to form and operate in any circumstance, real or imagined.
Not surprisingly, family is the central theme of Sibling Topics—post-family, to be precise. Trecartin returns to his conception of family-as-business-enterprise (I-Be Area), casting parent figures as managers and executives on one end of the spectrum (do they lead with a hands-on style? Or are they more absent?), estranged children as freelancers on the other. The director plays four sisters named Ceader, Britt, Adobe and Deno, the boundaries of whom are indistinct. It is difficult to tell where one sister ends and the next begins.
The sisters' questing—for identity, for romance, etc.—leads them on an episodic series of adventures, several of which are defined as 'premises.' A Trecartin premise plays out as a predetermined situation where the character initiating it has already set the tone, terms, and trajectory of the experience in their mind. The actual, lived event serves only as the shading-in of the outline. An early premise, between Ceader and her lover Baby is called 'a conversation in easy mode.'
Later, Ceader finds herself in another romantic premise, with her friend Mass Major, this one based on the experience of a delicately furnished vacation house. But this one goes bad, it's too sterile and too foreign, with nothing to hold on to. Ceader's expectations of the house seems to entrance and even trap them—until they shake themselves free of the premise and back to reality. Like the business protocols enacted by the Koreas, the characters of Sibling Topics lock themselves personal scenarios that are similarly predetermined by externalized priorities. As with I-Be Area, the emergence of a character as author (of their desires or of their life) signals growth and power. However, the agency of the sisters is called into question by Mass Major, who tells Ceader, 'You want to much, what you want is vague, and you don't work towards it.' The general idea of something, manifested as the time and place of a premise, is not enough to count for personal history. Preconceived control of a scene from one's life is more an expression of weakness than mastery, and of inherent doubt in one's ability to direct the action of a spontaneous encounter."
Britt Ceader, Adobe Deno: Ryan Trecartin. Able: Lizzie FItch. Baby/Jason: Lee Kyle. Mass Major: Ashland Mines. CC: David Toro. Opening Video Message: Carryon Ova, Kristina Vecsesi. Premise Hotel: Pom Foreign: M Blash. Henry: Holcombe Waller. Premise Bar: Flow Stopper: Jaime Lee Christiana. Bartender Eife: Eddie Pineda. Timmy: Charley Sharp. Owen: Chad Tolson. Call-It: Colin Self. Britta Balance Premise Timeshare: I-O-Me(IDT): Kathleen Brennan. Kip: Charles Dubé. Able in SneakAPeek: Lizzie Fitch. Synthea: Mary Ann Heagerty. Pre-Installed Crusty Bonus Track: Party Steve Kraus. P.T.(IDT): Caitlin MacBride. Identity Tourist: Sergio Pastor. Community Womb: Sarah Ball, Solomon Chase, Telfar Clemens, Samuel Cormier, Mary Ann Heagerty, Adrian Massey, Ashland Mines, Daniel Spann, David Toro, Leilah Weinraub, Liz Zacharia. Zombie Ceader Fallout Tent: Frush: Taya Koschnick. Timmy: Kenny Curran. Timmy: Rhett LaRue. Timmy: Brian Mckelligott. Trashy Folk Singer: Muffy Brandt. Dude: A.L. Steiner. Chick: Erin Newberg.
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