The Last Screening Room: A Valentine and The Contraband Tape, 2 Channel Installation
1984, 60:00 minutes, colour, English
In a timeless bureaucratic state known as Canada, the only festival still celebrated is St. Valentine's Day. This videotape is an electronic valentine made by a woman working for the Province of Ontario as a Privacy Guarantor. Storytelling has been outlawed. The Canada Council has become a branch of the Ministry of Health. Her job is to listen to stories told to her by inmates of Ontario prisons, and immediately to forget them. An old woman is arrested for storytelling. Haunted by her tale, the Privacy Guarantor decides to break the law.
The Contraband Tape is shown together with The Last Screening Room: A Valentine in the two-channel installation of this work. It is a version of the highly mediated videotape referred to in The Last Screening Room: A Valentine on which was recorded the last few stories told in Canada before storytelling was outlawed. This is the same tape that was watched in secret by the old woman with the initials SCL who later was herself imprisoned for storytelling.
(The Contraband Tape is intended as an ambient track so that when the two tapes are looped, the narratives on The Contraband Tape come up differently each time The Last Screening Room is viewed)
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