TOUR WITHOUT END is a hybrid-film installation and an archive of DIY venues for visual and performing arts, in New York City and beyond. Parnes’ work address counter-culture and youth-culture references in which the music is integral to the work. While offering a distinctly feminist alternative to abject traditions in the visual arts such as Mike Kelly and Paul McCarthy, she crafts loose narratives of trauma and repressed memory around mass-culture and youthful rites-of-passage. “Tour Without End” is a continuation of these themes but from a decidedly adult perspective. Moreover, Tour departs from her past work in that it is set in real spaces, relies on improvisation and relates to cinema vérité. Though this work makes historical references, it is firmly rooted in our time. Part of the project was shot in Cleveland – around the protests at the republican convention. Citing Medium Cool, which was set at the Democratic convention in 1968, I drew connections between past and present while asserting that no one exists outside of politics.
TOUR WITHOUT END was shot between 2014-2018 and includes an extensive archive of live performance in NYC. The archive is presented as a two-channel projection and allows for audience members to choose performances from a menu. These include more than thirty musicians and ten underground music venues, several of which have already permanently closed their doors since I started my project. The rapid gentrification of New York gives the project more urgency. This room will mimic the environment of DIY spaces and will include a stage where live performance could take place throughout the show. Portraits of performers taken By Justine Kurland will take a central place in the installation.
As viewers move past the performance/viewing station, they can choose to enter several different rooms, each containing a series of video scenes/ vignettes with separate story lines and character development. The viewer determines the order of the story line by choosing the room to enter. This culminates in the final room where a feature length film integrates all the characters into one story. Screening times will be listed so viewers who wish to watch the movie from beginning to end may do so. Like many of my feature length multi-media installations, Tour is the antithesis of the media we are accustomed to consuming in our age of distraction.
Viewers could potentially spend all day exploring the various characters, plot lines, and performances -- or they could just quickly move from room to room taking in the footage like one might a portrait. The choice of rooms offers a means to bridge the gap between highly structured, commercial forms of storytelling and its high-art antithesis, nonlinear narrative. Viewers may enter the story at any point, mirroring the internet. Randomness becomes a virtue, reflective not only of our experience of the web but of real life – of the random, the simultaneous, the parallel.