Dennis Cooper and Ryan Trecartin

In this episode of “Artists On Writers | Writers On Artists,” the filmmaker-novelist and the artist talk about theme parks and haunted houses, the pain of producing first drafts, and what it means to make a life in art right now.

A co-production of Artforum and Bookforum, “Artists On Writers | Writers On Artists” is a monthly web series that brings together luminaries in the fields of art and literature to have the conversations they themselves wish to have.


Dennis Cooper is the author of the George Miles Cycle, an interconnected sequence of five novels: Closer, Frisk, Try, Guide, and Period. His other works include My Loose Thread; The Sluts, winner of the France’s Prix Sade and the Lambda Literary Award; God Jr.; Wrong; The Dream Police; Ugly Man; The Marbled Swarm; and his most recent, I Wished, now out with Soho Press. His newest GIF novel is Zac’s Drug Binge . He divides his time between Los Angeles and Paris. He is the director (with Zac Farley) of Permanent Green Light, Like Cattle Towards Glow, and the forthcoming Room Temperature.

Over the past 20 years, Ryan Trecartin has built an expansive practice of interwoven video, installation, sound, sculpture, and monumental land environments that considers the fluid and co-creative nature of identity, human subjectivity, and the changing meaning of community. Four years ago, he and Lizzie Fitch, his principal collaborator, moved to a 32-acre farm in Appalachian Ohio where they embarked on a still-continuing project called Whether Line, which extends earlier themes in their work while exploring issues related to the land: its occupation, its borders and territories. In their most ambitious undertaking yet, the artists have built several experiential environments on the land that function individually as movie sets and collectively as the first features of a conceptual artist-run theme park and residency, including a fifty-foot watch tower and an 18,000-square-foot lazy river and sculptural trench embedded in the hillside. The first exhibition of this multiphase project commissioned by Fondazione Prada debuted in Milan in 2019 and featured video, an immersive animation and gaming environment, and room-size installations. Alongside the Whether Line exhibition, the foundation also staged a twenty-year retrospective of Trecartin’s twenty-three movies, bringing all his influential video work together for the first time.

Upcoming shows in 2022 include: a solo exhibition of new work with Fitch at Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art, Denmark, and World out of Jointa group exhibition at the Kunst Museum Winterthur, Switzerland. Also in 2022, the artist will premiere a new movie at the Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva, Switzerland. In 2023, Trecartin and Fitch will have their second major solo show in China at Prada Rong Zhai, Shanghai, where they will present the next large-scale phase of Whether Line. In addition to his work on upcoming exhibitions and projects, Trecartin is a consultant on longtime collaborator and fashion designer Telfar Clemens’s new media project TELFAR.TV, a 24-hour live public access television network.