johan grimonprez

"virilio remarked once that television turned the world into an accident, and that with the advent of virtual reality the whole of reality will be 'accidented'. each technology invents its own catastrophe, and with it a new relationship to death. the boat invented the sinking of the boat, the airplane invented the crashing of the airplane. television has reinvented the way we perceive reality and the way we relate to catastrophe, history and death.
tv has turned our notions of private and public inside out, but, more importantly, the representational modes for portraying actuality and imagination have become intertwined: cnn borrows from hollywood and vice versa. the everyday talkshow has zapped the family right off their couch and into the studio. in the opposite direction catastrophe culture invades our living room.
the territory of the home overlaps with the space of tv in a much more profound and psychological way than we are possibly aware. 'dial h-i-s-t-o-r-y' ends also with a scene of a highjacked, crashing plane accidentally framed by some honymooner´s camcorder. the couple were immediately invited to be guests on larry king´s talk show on cnn to tell how they were able to shoot the footage! the dynamics of abstract capitalism thus allow the spectators to be the heroes and political issues are simply reduced to explanations of how to operate a camcorder. patricia mellencamp calls it the shift from catastrophe to comedy: 'we can´t change the world, but we can change our socks,' according to one nike ad: 'it´s not a shoe, it´s a revolution.' "

(interview with hans ulrich obrist & johan grimonprez in 1999, included in the book to the film "dial h-i-s-t-o-r-y" by grimonprez)

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