In the Dark

Ho Tam

2004, 06:00 minutes, B & W, English


Made in the year after SARS crisis, the video revisits the images collected from the Toronto media. Through all black and white rephotographed pictures, all we can see is the darkness of a time passed, a city under attacks and assaults, politicians scrambling for words of comfort, citizens living in a state of fear, distrust paranoia and shame. How are we to make from those few months that seemed to last forever? As if we were in the dark ages, at the time we thought we would never come out of it again.

The video, by pointing to the weaknesses within human nature, indirectly refers to the problematic media attention in a world we have created. If the media is the message, the video questions its biases and truthfulness. In order to recreate this uncomfortable time, the mediated and degraded images and the audio purposely resonate each other to reveal the sense of self-doubt, disgust and the feeling of almost approaching a state of abjection.

Using video technology but referencing the languages of experimental films, In the Dark also pays homage to the avant-garde filmmaker Stan Brakhage (1933- 2003), who passed away about the same time as the SARS outbreak.

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