White Dawn

Steele & Tomczak, Lisa Steele and Kim Tomczak

1988, 09:05 minutes, colour, English / French


We produced this tape at the height of the debate over the Free Trade agreement between Canada and the United States. We wanted to talk about cultural imperialism and its effect on individuals. What happens to that most personal aspect of personality - the dream - when you lose your sense of yourself, when you are not reflected in the culture that surrounds you, when you're absent? But rather than reciting the depressing and well-known statistics about America's cultural domination of Canada, we reversed the story. Using the visual and aural conventions of television to parody the "hard sell" of commercials, we construct an American who's losing it, who's insecure, doubtful of self but not quite sure why, who's grumpy but beginning to normalize the change. The corny K-tel style special effects add to the disorientation the character feels as he/she drops into the special void of "otherness."

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Critical Writing

Total recall: History, memory & new documentary
by Sara Diamond and Gary Kibbins. Trade Initiative, 1998. Vancouver: Satellite Video Exchange Society, 1998.
Kim Tomczak: Video Artist
by Roger Matuz. Contemporary Canadian Artists, 1997. Toronto: Gale Canada, 1997.
Lisa Steele: Video Artist
by Roger Matuz. Contemporary Canadian Artists, 1997. Toronto: Gale Canada, 1997.
Lisa Steele: Video Work is Ideal Postmodern Art Form
by Christina Barat. The Daily Gleaner, Oct. 29, 1994.
Clock ticking on AGO video show
by Randi Spires. The Toronto Star, Jan. 12, 1990.
Videotape show the fruit of a happy marriage of talents
by John Bentley Mays. The Globe and Mail, Nov. 25, 1989.
Lisa Steele and Kim Tomczak: The groundbreaking dynamic duo of...
by Cameron Bailey. Now, Nov. 9, 1989, v. 9, no. 10.
4 hours and 38 minutes: Videotapes by Steele and Tomczak
by Philip Monk. AGO NEWS, Nov. 1989, v. 11, no. 10.
Utopias of Resistance: Strategies of Cultural Self-Determination
by Dot Tuer. catalogue, 1989. Art Gallery of Ontario, 1989.
Disclosure: Lisa Steele and Kim Tomczak: The Collaborative Tapes
by Philip Monk. catalogue, 1989. Art Gallery of Ontario, 1989.
Collaborative Videotapes: Descriptions by the Artist
by Lisa Steele and Kim Tomczak. 4 Hours and 38 Minutes, 1989. Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, 1989.
Canadian Artists to Present 3 Provocative Videos at IMAGE
by Reidy Robin. The Atlanta Journal, Feb. 15, 1989.
Video Exhibition: Total Recall
by Sarah Diamond and Gary Kibbins.
Art Given Social Voice: Six artists probe experiences and images
by Nancy Tousley. Calgary Herald, Jan. 23 Winter, 1988.
The Lisa Steele Tapes: Investigation and Vision
by Catherine Russell. North of Everything: English Canadian Cinema Since 1980, 1980. University of Alberta Press, 1980.