Villains / Heroes

Stephen Foster

1994, 07:00 minutes, colour


Originally an installation tape composed of an office chair painted in camouflage mounted to a shipping dolly and outfitted with a small LCD monitor in the left arm. The videotape plays in a continuous loop for one hour and then rewinds. The tape mixes on air footage from the Oka conflict and the artist's own footage from the site of the conflict and from Quebec City.
The subject of the tape is the construction of history - official and unofficial. Contrasting images and icons of different aspects of heroism are revealed through the layering of video image textures and rhythmic editing. The videotape de-constructs the dialogue of 'good guy/bad guy' that is played out in the media and the substantiation of these roles in official culture - such as the historical monuments that mark the political power of our culture. The question is who gets to play the hero and who gets to play the villain - are we too close to playing 'cowboys and indians' in the true Hollywood sense?

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