File Note 59: Kerry Tribe - Camden Art Centre

Essay by Althea Thauberger



Images References Quote Biography Credits


1 This description is borrowed from Slovenian philosopher and Lacanian scholar Mladen Dolar, as outlined in his lecture One Divides into Two, on March 28, 2011 at the Institute for Cultural Inquiry, Berlin.

2 Ibid.

3 Term used by the artist

4 Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time, Vol 1: Swann’s Way, Penguin Books, London, 2003

5 In Milton Torres Sees A Ghost, magnetic audio tape loops between two listening stations consisting of a reel-to-reel audio player and an oscilloscope that visually displays the soundtrack. As the tape moves around, and architecturally defines the space in which it is heard, the audio is simultaneously being laid down on one deck, and erased on the other. The voice of Milton Torres himself is heard on the first, in an edited interview with the artist, giving an account of his UFO sighting over the North Sea in 1957.

6 The Last Soviet is a montage that uses appropriated footage and what appears to be a low-fi video feed from the space station Mir. The voiceover is divided between two narratives; a man with a Russian accent provides a personal account while a woman speaking Russian gives a more historical perspective on a series of events said to have taken place in the early 1990s as the Soviet Union collapsed.

7 Texts typeset in this font are excerpts from Kerry Tribe’s work.

8 Kerry Tribe’s Parnassius mnemosyne features an animated image of the eponymous butterfly wing as seen under a microscope. The film strip is twisted once and its head is spliced to its tail, forming a möbius strip—a surface with only one side and only one boundary. Whenever the split—where the head and tail are joined—passes through the projector’s gate, the projected image flips along its vertical axis.

9 Milton Torres kept his wings, which cost his Speech and Memory.

10 The little bird, it cannot fly in space; in zero gravity.

11 It cannot fly beneath the lens for it is but a specimen.

Chantal Akerman (Dir.) News from Home (1977)

Roland Barthes Camera Lucida Hill and Wang, New York (1981) 

Morgan Fisher (Dir.) Projection Instructions (1976)

Hollis Frampton (Dir.) Critical Mass (1971)

Jonathan Franzen My Father’s Brain Belmont Press, London (2002)

Kenneth Goldsmith Head Citations The Figures, Great Barrington (2002)

Aleksandr Lauria The Man with a Shattered World Basic Books, New York (1972)

Moshen Makhmalbaf (Dir.) Nun va Goldoon [A Moment of Innocence] (1996)

Ross McElwee (Dir.) Time Indefinite (1993)

Ian McEwan Saturday Vintage, London (2005)

Victor Pelevin Omon Ra Tekst, Moscow (1992)

Yvonne Rainer (Dir.) Film About a Woman Who (1974)

Martha Rosler (Dir.) Domination and the Everyday (1978)

‘The past is never dead. It’s not even past.’ William Faulkner


Kerry Tribe (b.  1973, Boston) lives and works in Los Angeles. Her large-scale projects in film, video and installation structurally engage with their form, as a philosophical inquiry into memory, subjectivity and doubt. Tribe has had solo exhibitions at Künstlerhaus Bathanien, Berlin; Artspeak, Vancouver; and Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions amongst others. In 2010 she was included in the Whitney Biennial and the Migrating Forms Festival, both in New York. Tribe’s work has also been exhibited at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; the Generali Foundation, Vienna; Kunst-Werke Berlin; and SMAK, Gent. She was a fellow at the American Academy in Berlin in 2005–2006, received her MFA from UCLA in 2002, was a Whitney Independent Study Program Fellow in 1997–98 and received her BA in Art and Semiotics from Brown University in 1997.


Althea Thauberger is an artist living in Vancouver for whom Kerry Tribe is a dear friend, influence and collaborator.