Telling Tales

Elizabeth Chitty

1979, 26:45 minutes, colour, English


Telling Tales takes narrative apart into episodic pieces executed with bad girl bravado and gold lame pants. There is no attempt at constructing a narrative whole and narrative devices are recklessly applied. The tape begins with a "she" who feels the urge to organize the events of her life into a narrative, then we hear a collapsed life story of someone named Simon, insults to the camera, an achey-breaky 60s pop song delivered stone faced, a list of statements concerning cause and effect, a history and current events quiz followed by personal questions, a lip-sync rendition of a disco song story and more. A recurring image of a couple making out in front of a news broadcast about a nuclear meltdown displays a preoccupation with the boundary between public and private. When information is finally organized and delivered with instructions on what to do with it, the fact-finder closes the door to perform a very private act. She then flips through a photo news mag with a stiletto-heeled foot and the tape ends like a B-movie. Donning trench coat, sunglasses and cigarette, the artist says, "She was always telling tales."

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