Past Present Tense is a 2 channel, 12 minute video installation that tells the story of shared experience between two unnamed main characters, through the dual lens of their distinct and fractured memories. These two disparate accounts combine and interplay across the viewing area, overlapping the individual perspectives.
The film is derived from my relationship to my late father, a man who survived by near miraculous circumstances both the atrocities of WWII, and the 1956 Hungarian revolution.
When I was 30 years old, I decided to sit down with him to record his stories, but as I made arrangements to visit, he suddenly passed away. The loss was made more difficult by the fact that I had narrowly missed the chance to document his memories; an opportunity that could never be retrieved. His stories are now only accessible through the unreliable and partial second-hand accounts recalled by me, and my family. These versions are not only fractured, incomplete and often conflicting, but they are also fading with time.
Using a multi-layered approach that combines 8mm & Super 8 footage from my personal archives, new film footage, and voice-over narration, Past Present Tense flips between the two character's accounts, highlighting the complex process of remembering and the difficulty of reconciling multiple perspectives about the same event.
With grateful acknowledgement to Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council for their support in the creation of this work.