Part of Winter 2005
Working in video, web, and installation, Chan’s work addresses everything from the Bush Administration and its policies in Afghanistan and Iraq to the work of Charles Fourier and Henry Darger. Chan was a part of the group of artists who put together The People’s Guide to the Republican National Convention, a map and all around info sheet on everything that had to do with the recent convention in New York, from protest information to the addresses of office buildings that house war profiteering corporations.
In January 2003, Chan traveled to Baghdad with the Iraq Peace Team, a project initiated by Voices In the Wilderness, the Nobel Peace Prize-nominated group working against the sanctions and currently the occupation of Iraq. While there he shot footage of everyday life in Iraq which become BAGHDAD IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER, a series of humorous and tender observational video portraits shot in the calm before the ensuing storm. On this second anniversary of the imperial invasion of Iraq, Pleasure Dome is pleased to have Paul Chan in person to introduce and discuss his current projects and present a programme of videos including the darkly satirical RE:THE_OPERATION which uses animated drawings, digital snapshots and fictional letters to depict the Bush administration as wounded, neurosis-ridden soldiers fighting the war against terrorism. Happiness (finally) after 35,000 years of civilization is an animation-installation reinterpreting the drawings of outsider artist Henry Darger and the writings of utopian philosopher Charles Fourier.
Documentation of Happiness (finally) after 35,000 years of civilization – after H. Darger & C. Fourier (18:00 min., 2000 – 2003)
Now Let Us Praise American Leftists (2:30 min., 2000)
BAGHDAD IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER (51:00 min., 2003)
Now promise now threat (32:00 min., 2005, Canadian Premiere)
Paul Chan’s most recent work is part documentary, part visual manifesto, Now promise now threat uses Omaha, Nebraska (population 390,000, literally located in the middle of the US) as a site and subject to follow the often unexpected lines connecting people, religion, and politics in 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.
Paul Chan is an artist living in New York. His installation and video work can be currently seen at the 54th Carnegie International in Pittsburgh (up until March 2005). In January 2005, the Museum of Modern Art in New York premiered his new single channel video Now promise now threat. In March 2005 he will be featured at PS1’s Greater New York Show, and his work will be exhibited at the Lyon Bienale in France, The Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, and The Blanton Museum of Art in Austin in the fall and winter of 2005.
Chan has worked with the Teamsters, Indymedia, and most recently, the Nobel peace prized nominated group Voices in the Wilderness and their campaign against the war (and now occupation) in Iraq. More recently, Chan collaborated with the collective Friends of William Blake to produce The People’s guide to the Republican National Convention, a free foldout map detailing everything a protester needed to get in or out of the way during the RNC in New York.