Frank Heath's The Hollow Coin explores roles of authority in public space and the intersection of personal and historical narratives. The video combines documentary footage of New York City’s rapidly disappearing network of payphones with audio of a covertly recorded telephone exchange between an actor and an unknowing bystander. In the surreptitiously captured conversation an attempted "information leak" is infused with an absurd story and a historical anecdote.

The work’s title refers to a Soviet spy who was apprehended in 1953 after mistakenly paying his newspaper delivery boy with a hollow coin that contained a microfilm of an encrypted message. Throughout the video a parallel sequence of events reveals that images from the video itself have been stored on an SD card concealed within a hollow coin and inserted into the payphone from which the call was made.

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The Hollow Coin
Frank Heath
2016
2/3+2
1 channel video, color video, stereo audio
1920px x 1080px, 12'14"