Shadow World by Johan Grimonprez: screening and conversation with the director

Shadow World by Johan Grimonprez: screening and conversation with the director

SHADOW WORLD 2016, USA/Belgium/Denmark; 94 minutes

Bachir/Yerex Presentation Space, 401 Richmond St. W., #440

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Doors open: 2:30pm

Screening: 3:00pm

Conversation to follow between Johan Grimonprez and Charles Stankievech

We are very pleased to welcome JOHAN GRIMONPREZ back to Vtape for a screening of his multi-award winning experimental documentary Shadow World.  Grimonprez was first at Vtape in 1998 with his essay film dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y, a compendium of media images documenting airplane hijackings that was originally commissioned by Catherine David for Documenta X.

With Shadow World, the murky underworld of the international arms trade is revealed. Stiching together expert interviews and archive footage, Shadow World reveals that corruption is not a dirty little side effect of the arms trade, but in fact its defining factor. Politicians, who are supposed to represent our hopes and dreams, sell us fear and nightmares in the interest of the very corporations that profit from war.

By shedding light on how our realities are being constructed, the film argues, with alarming plausibility, that we have privatized the function of war. As a result, bribes and corruption determine the economic and foreign policies of some of the biggest countries in the world, making sure that there is always a war to be fought.

The screening will be followed by a conversation between Grimonprez and Charles Stankievech, a Toronto-based artist, writer and educator.


directed by
Johan Grimonprez

based on the book
The Shadow World
by Andrew Feinstein

stories written and read by
Eduardo Galeano


Johan Grimonprez is a writer, filmmaker, artist and curator. His films are characterised by a criticism of contemporary media manipulation, described as: “an attempt to make sense of the wreckage wrought by history.” This films “speak to the need to see history at a distance, but at the same time to speak from inside it”. Born in Belgium, he is currently teaching in New York. His work is currently on view at the Art Gallery of Windsor, February 8 – May 14, 2019, includes dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y and Blue Orchids (+ Raymond Tallis | on tickling + countdown clock).

Charles Stankievech is an artist, writer and publisher living in Toronto whose research has explored issues such as the notion of “fieldwork” in the embedded landscape, the military industrial complex, and the history of technology. His diverse body of work has been shown internationally a wide range of institutions. He was a founding faculty member of the Yukon School of Visual Arts in Dawson City, Canada and is currently the Program Director of Visual Studies in the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto.  He is the co-director of the art and theory press K. Verlag in Berlin, and on the editorial board for the journal Afterall.

image credit: Ronald Reagan aboard Air Force One during a trip to California on November 23, 1983. Courtesy: Ronald Reagan presidential library.