Johan Grimonprez

Johan Grimonprez

Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y

27 June–27 July 200827 Jun–27 Jul 2008

Belgian artist Johan Grimonprez achieved international acclaim with his collage video Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y. Premiering in 1997 at Paris’s Centre Pompidou and atDocumenta X in Kassel, it eerily foreshadowed 9/11. It tells the story of airplane hijackings in the 1970s and how they changed the course of news reporting. Back then, hijacking epitomised hip suicidal heroics: the Japanese Red Army commandeered planes with samurai swords and a woman revolutionary prepared with a facelift. Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y consists of recycled images taken from news broadcasts, mainstream movies, and TV commercials, and incorporates ruminations from Don DeLillo novels and a collage of sound samples and groovy music by collaborator David Shea. The resulting montage of fact and fiction, the illustrative and the oblique, locates the question of terrorism within the context of the media: our mediated, channel-hopping sense of reality. The question the artist appears to be posing is this: When everybody has been absorbed except those zealots on the outside prepared to die for their beliefs, what might a history of that historical outside look like?

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