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Tin Drum Trilogy

Curated by Video Data Bank

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# Title Artists Run Time Year Country
1 RE:THE_OPERATION Paul Chan 00:27:30 2002 United States
2 BAGHDAD IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER Paul Chan 00:51:00 2003 United States
3 Now promise now threat Paul Chan 00:33:00 2005 United States


Paul Chan
2002 | 00:27:30 | United States | English | Color | Stereo | 4:3 |


Based on a set of drawings that depict George W. Bush's administration as wounded soldiers in the war against terrorism, RE:THE_OPERATION explores the sexual and philosophical dynamics of war through the lives of the members as they physically engage each other and the "enemy." Letters, notes, and digital snapshots "produced" by the members on their tour of duty become the basis of video portraits that articulate the neuroses and obsessions compelling them toward an infinite war. Part M*A*S*H*, part Three's Company, part philosophical meditation (with a dash of character assassination thrown in) RE:THE_OPERATION exists as a single channel video and a set of desktop replacement icons for MAC and PC.

"The public to which Mr. Chan’s video speaks is mostly anti-war, although whatever your views on the conflict, you cannot help laughing at what appears to be the voice of Colin Powell reading from the writings of Michel Foucault on the inevitability of history, or Condoleeza Rice at the front line dictating a letter to her family back home. My favorite is a voice sample of Donald Rumsfeld saying, 'We must learn to live with low-density hope.'"

— Benjamin Genocchio, The New York Times (3/30/03)

This title is also available on the DVD box set Tin Drum Trilogy.


Paul Chan
2003 | 00:51:00 | United States | English | Color | Stereo | 4:3 | Video


BAGHDAD IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER is an ambient video essay of life in Baghdad before the invasion and occupation. Men dance, women draw and sufis sing as they await the coming of another war. In seven languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian and Spanish).

Notes, gifts, promises, paintings, trash, and other ephemera from the city which is now hardly a city. What if Walter Benjamin didn’t kill himself, learned html, bought a camera, and thought himself useful enough to work in an impending war zone?

This title is also available on Tin Drum Trilogy.

Now promise now threat

Paul Chan
2005 | 00:33:00 | United States | English | Color | Stereo | 4:3 | Video


“Now too late, he understood her. The heart that pumped out love, the mouth that spoke the Word, didn’t count.”

--Toni Morrison, “Beloved”

Part documentary, part visual manifesto, Now promise now threat uses Omaha, Nebraska (population 390,000, literally located in the middle of the U.S.) as a site and subject to follow the often unexpected lines connecting people, religion and politics in “red state” America. An evangelical pastor opposes the mixing of church and state on religious grounds. An anti-abortion mother deplores the hypocrisy of the pro-life movement for being pro-war. A young man wants to die for his country so he can--at last--have a life worthy of living. Now promise now threat mixes interviews with locally produced footage and kidnapping videos from Iraq transformed into fields of undulating color to create a moving “apologia” for the united red states of America.

This title is also available on Tin Drum Trilogy.