"Ledge," the centerpiece of the new exhibition by Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin, is a giant, multi-layered tent in which lounging cushions allow for comfortable viewing of the duo's videos. Projected on five surrounding screens and shown on a monitor mounted on the ceiling, the video environment shows blissed-out twentysomethings done up in zombie-like gear, several in drag, roaming the cavernous spaces inside the long-derelict Masonic Temple on Wilshire Boulevard.
At Regen Projects, the tent is a nomad's shelter crossed with the Cinerama Dome; it floats like an iceberg adrift within a theatrical space. Fitch and Trecartin have lined the gallery walls with curtains, which are bathed in shifting bluish-purple hues by overhead lights. A theater within a theater, it houses videos that chronicle yet another theatrical space: a hall of performance mirrors for the Digital Age.
Unfortunately, nothing of much interest happens in the multi-screen movie itself. (The show also includes two smaller theaters and mixed media sculptures. Fitch and Trecartin credit a team of collaborators, including Rhett LaRue, Sean Grattan, Murphy Maxwell, Sergio Pastor, Nick Rodrigues, Lola Sinreich, Adam Trecartin and Anthony Valdez. ) The interchangeable actors babble and natter as they roam the run-down rooms, staring with eyes made robotic by novelty contact lenses.
"Ledge" reverses a familiar difficulty with video art, in which an interesting work is presented in an inhospitable gallery format that makes watching it a pain. Here the format works marvelously, but the video-movie is bland.
The inventive presentation format is the work's strongest feature. It's a homemade "Blair Witch Project" shown in a modern, free-floating Plato's Cave.
Regen Projects, 6750 Santa Monica Blvd, Hollywood, (310) 276-5424, through Nov. 26. Closed Sun. and Mon. www.regenprojects.com