Tape Condition: degraded is an immersive installation and community digitization station that engages with the CLGA’s collection of more than 3,000 VHS tapes, about one-third of which are porn. From commercially produced movies, to homemade tapes and hand-dubbed compilations, these cassettes are vital records of the archives’ role in preserving and protecting queer desires, sexual subcultures, and the pleasures of collecting. As VHS tapes age and degrade, what kinds of digital strategies might bring the histories they record into the present? How might digital interventions broaden, diversify, or queer the kinds of bodies, pleasures, and identities the archives collects?
Throughout the summer, a working digital transfer station will be situated in an immersive installation designed to evoke the CLGA of the 1980’s—the heyday of both VHS and Canadian police censorship of queer porn. Hidden behind a “false wall” that references the archives’ attempts to protect the porn collection from police raids in the 1980s, this station will be staffed by a technician and available for community-use on select days throughout the summer.
A series of public programs throughout the summer will invite artists, activists, porn makers and scholars to think about VHS, porn collecting, and digital histories at the archives.
A publication with essay, drawings by Hazel Meyer, and “Dream Tape” archival interventions written by 10 queer and trans artists and activists available online and in print.
June 16, 7pm
Opening Party at CLGA, 34 Isabella Street, 2nd Floor
Remarks and Digitization Demo at 8pm
June 18, 10am – 4pm
Community Digitization Day, CLGA, 34 Isabella Street
Bring in your VHS (book an appointment: mckinneycait [at] gmail [dot] com)
Digitization can occur on 1st floor for those with accessibility needs
July 8, 7:30pm
Performance Lecture, Buddies in Bad Times, 12 Alexander Street
Cait McKinney and Hazel Meyer
VJ Party with tapes from CLGA collection
Nica Ross and Ginger Brooks Takahashi
Accessibility Note: The second-floor gallery space of the CLGA building at 34 Isabella is unfortunately not currently wheelchair accessible; the building’s elevator broke this year and is being rebuilt. All public programming events for this show will be held either on the first floor of the CLGA (accessible by ramp at back of building) or in off-site accessible venues. Documentation and a take-away publication are also available.
Hazel and Cait’s collaborations explore their shared attachments to queer histories through research, writing, and archival interventions. Past projects include an essay in Little Joe: Queers and Cinema (2015), the Muscle Panic Handbook (2014), In the Equipment Room, a performance workshop for art)work(sport)work(sex)work by YES! Association/Föreningen JA! (The Power Plant, Toronto 2015), and a forthcoming feminist tool catalog to be published in No More Potlucks.