From the Video Vault: Are We Going Backwards? (1989)

Calgary-born video artist David Tuff (b. 1959) died due to AIDS-related illness in 1992. A compilation of his video works was recently recovered from the personal collection of Montreal-based cinema studies scholar Tom Waugh. One of the video works on the tape is Tuff’s 1989 short titled Are We Going Backwards?. The video is an experimental activist documentary covering the BC Social Credit Party’s proposed (and eventually passed) Bill 34, a piece of legislation that legalized the quarantine and internment of people with HIV/AIDS. Tuff makes a comparison between this piece of legislation and the internment of Japanese Canadians in British Columbia during World War II. The ten-minute video was made from Tuff’s previous video installation at Emily Carr in 1987-88 that tackled the same themes.

You can learn more about the BC quarantine legislation and the Coalition for Responsible Health Legislation that organized against it in many of the Vancouver oral history transcripts, especially those from John Kozachenko, Dan Guinan, Richard Banner, and Cynthia Brooke.