Operation Double Trouble by Keith Sanborn (2003) 10 minutes, 15 seconds, Digital Video, Color, Stereo Hi-Fi sound.
Operation Double Trouble is a detourned version of a propaganda film called “Enduring Freedom: The Opening Chapter.” That film was produced for theatrical release on high definition video and was a joint project of the US Marine Corps and the US Navy. Peggy Ahwesh brought it to my attention when it appeared on the net.
After a certain amount of searching, I managed to locate and download the original from a military website. I then converted it to dv codec, and set to work. The original was intended to give the military “a human face.” This version is intended to bring to the surface the strategic manipulations of the original—in terms of editing and ideology—at what appears to be a critical moment in the historical evolution of the role of the US military in US politics.
For Operation Double Trouble, titles were added at the head and tail and each shot is seen exactly twice—with the exception of one sequence of dissolves which is treated as a single shot.
The effect produced recalls for me the unsettling experience of speaking long-distance on the phone when, by accident, every word you say is echoed back to you after a short delay.
It’s an example of what I call “Brechtian hiccoughs”: technological accidents which distract our attention just enough to give us the possibility for an alternate understanding of that technology and our relation to it.
The unstable patches in shots of the sky function in a similar way. They are compression artifacts we may choose to ignore, or to dismiss as incompetence. Their presence may also serve to remind us we are interiorizing a view of the world radically mediated by technology, rather than simply breathing in reality directly.
They destabilize the transparency of the code.
Brechtian hiccoughs exist in a zone ruled by accident, intention and the insights born of the habit of an active immersion in the media.
This work is dedicated to Len Lye (maker of “Lambeth Walk, Nazi style”)
and Les LeVeque (maker of “Backwards Birth of a Nation”).
Von Clausewitz, the foremost analyst of Napoleon—the creator of the nation
state—tell us that “War is the continuation of Politics by other means.”
This work is offered to inflect the history of warfare in the age of the information state.