Chinoise A is a remake of a scene from J-L Godard's "La Chinoise" (1967) in which a radical student contemplates bombing a university. The original scene, which takes place on a train, is reimagined as an online video chat. The script, which is based on a transcription of the Godard film's English subtitles, is relocated from Paris to New York and updated from 1967 to 2004.
In the press
"In Tribe’s video, Chinoise A (2009), named after the 1967 film by Jean Luc-Godard, he restages the dialogue regarding Leftist terrorism between two of Godard’s characters on a Paris train, giving this dialogue new significance and vitality by imagining it as a Skype conversation between a young and elder radical in our present. What comes out of the restaging is an expression of skepticism about contemporary uses of terrorism for Leftist and progressive causes, as well as a sense of historical distance from Godard’s original context pre-May ’68... [Tribe's recent projects] help us to reflect on how conditions for socio-political action and intervention have changed since the cultural moment of the ’60s... [and] anticipate the subject’s immersion within post-cinematic environments such as the Internet and social networking technologies, or Web 3.0." - Thom Donovan, Bomblog, Nov. 30, 2010.
"As an aesthetic practice, historical re-enactments draw tension between the respective differences of those being compared. In a contemporized rendition of a scene from Jean Luc Godard’s film entitled ‘La Chinoise’ (1967), artist Mark Tribe stages a conversation, set in New York City in late 2004, between a student and a former 60’s radical turned professor. For audiences today, the conversation topic—bombing a university—resonates as a specific response to a very specific set of historical conditions that implicate political currents in New York City today." - Marisa Jahn, Where We Are Now, Issue 02, Autumn 09
In the press
Hyperallergic: "A video projection focused on a single woodland scene for 24 hours shows undulating patterns of light formed by shadows of the trees. A leaf meanders its way to the ground; an insect buzzes by. A small pool of water shimmers and trickles, but not much else happens. When we come upon a scene like this in nature, we might stop for a photo, perhaps force ourselves to meditate for a moment, searching for peace and a spiritual connection, before quickly moving on. Mark Tribe’s “Balsam Lake Mountain Wild Forest, Ulster County, New York,” from the series New Nature (2016–17), allows us to linger more than we might in the wild, where fellow hikers, inclement weather, or mosquitoes compel us to be on our way. It allows us to enjoy the scene. According to a wall text accompanying this piece, we are more likely to experience nature on a digital screen than in an immersive setting. “In an age of virtual reality and inescapable human impact, is nature as real as it used to be?” asks Tribe. “And how could we use technologies of simulation (including relatively straightforward ones, like video) to preserve the experience of a vanishing wilderness?” By providing a voyeuristic view, the artist awakens us to a primal urge to get outside, to smell the moss, to feel the ferns and rocks, to listen to the water." Ilene Dube, "Artists Urge Us to Get Outside and Smell the Moss"