lights camera sound actions | time-based contemporary art

Telling Tales, 1979

single channel video; 28 minutes; colour, mono; A Western Front Video Production

TT - I Will Survivetext excerpts

Screenings (incomplete):
15 Dance Lab, Toronto, 1979; Nova Scotia College of Art & Design, March 1980; Hallwalls, Buffalo, March 1980; Art Metropole, Toronto, April 1980; P.S. 1, New York City, May 1980; 11e Biennale de Paris, September 1980, Niagara Artists’ Centre 1983, Vtape, Toronto, 2015.


11e Biennale de Paris, Les Canadiens. Parachute art contemporain, automne 1980. 6-7.
The Use of the Self to Structure Narrative. Peggy Gale. Western Front Video. Musee d’art contemporain de Montreal and Art Gallery of Hamilton.  1984. 15-16.
“What Remains – What Reminds”. J. Radul. Whispered Art History. ed. Keith Wallace. Arsenal Pulp Press. Vancouver 1993. 215-216.

Artist’s Statement for Western Front Video catalogue
Following the artist’s interest in how information is conveyed, Telling Tales takes a look at narrative without attempting to structure a narrative. Various narrative aspects and devices are examined: an incomplete introduction of a “she” who decides to organize the facts of her life; a short story of Simon with a beginning, middle and end; a lip-sync rendition of a disco song story; a look at a photo news magazine; a telephone conversation that gets re-recorded, fast-forwarded and still-framed; a list of statements and questions involving case and effect, and more. A re-occurring image of a couple making out in front of a television news broadcast presents the narrative link between public and private, and when finally information is organized and delivered with instructions on how to deal with it, the fact-finder closes the door to perform a very private act. The tape ends like a B-movie – donning trenchcoat, sunglasses and cigarette, the artist says, “She was always telling tales.”

from Art Metropole catalogue 1985/86TT-Hugh
Examining the circuit and short circuit of expression and perception, Chitty puts narrative under the microscope and warns “Find out where the communication breaks down and analyze the pattern of weakening power.”

Telling Tales began life as the performance Social Studies, performed at Alberta College of Art & Design and Western Front.

Telling Tales is available for viewing in entirety on Vimeo courtesy of Western Front Archive.

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