Standardized Patient, 2018

Commissioned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SF MoMA) in 2017, Standardized Patient offers insight into the work of Standardized Patients or “SPs,” professional actors trained to portray medical patients in simulated clinical encounters.  When working with medical students, SPs remain in character and manifest specific symptoms while simultaneously evaluating their doctors-in-training for constructive feedback and grading.  Developed in close collaboration with professional clinicians, communication experts and SPs working at Stanford Medical School and the University of Southern California, Standardized Patient continues Tribe’s ongoing inquiry into the life sciences and medicine while raising questions around performance, communication, and empathy.  As with earlier works like H.M., 2009, and Aphasia Poetry Club, 2015, the internal structures of its narrative development and the physical conditions of its installation mirror the social and cognitive conditions of its subjects.  The installation’s central projection screen presents a progression of medical students meeting with their SPs on one side, while, on the other, a synchronized montage of supporting materials offering glimpses of the scripts, snapshots and diagnostic flow charts that inform each party’s perspective.


1301PE’s ground floor features a second video installation, = , 2017.  Playing on a large flat screen monitor mounted to the ceiling, = consists entirely of aerial shots of the Los Angeles River captured during the production of Tribe’s 2016 film Exquisite Corpse.  Viewers look straight up at the footage that was shot looking straight down, resulting in a disorienting inversion.  = is the latest in a series of works that occupy an ongoin, more abstract tendency in Tribe’s oeuvre in which nature and natural phenomena are described through technically mediated, highly restrained filmic forms.

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