Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige

  (Redirected from Joana Hadjithomas)

Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige are filmmakers and artists. Their work includes feature and documentary films, video and photographic installations, sculpture, performance lectures and texts.

Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige
Joana and Khalil.jpg
Born1969 (age 51–52)

Personal lifeEdit

Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige were born in Beirut in 1969 and spent their childhood there during the Lebanese Civil Wars. They collaborate since the early 1990s on videos, films, photographs, and installations. They are known for their long-term research based on personal or political documents and their particular interest in the traces of the invisible and the absent, a forgotten space project from the 1960s, the strange consequences of Internet scams or the geological and archaeological undergrounds of cities. They occasionally use explicit life events as subjects for their work, such as the kidnapping and disappearance of Joreige's uncle, Alfred Junior Kettaneh, or Hadjithomas's paternal origins in the documentary ISRMYRNA, with the poet and painter Etel Adnan.[1]


Hadjithomas and Joreige interweave formal, conceptual and thematic links through photographs, video installations and films. Their work in film often influences and leads to projects in the plastic arts, and vice versa. They are known to work over several years on a single project, and often revisit earlier works in retrospection.

The importance of research in their work is such that they prefer to describe themselves not as artists but "chercheurs" – literally ‘those that are looking for something’ but also ‘researchers'.[2] Inspired by personal archives and found documents, they work and research in collaboration with other writers, philosophers, historians, archaeologists and illustrators, and have spoken about the importance of this aspect: 'We believe in encounter more than in influence and, beyond that, we cultivate admiration: so many photos, film sequences, conversations, meetings and exchanges have nurtured and enabled us, at some time, to admire someone or something.'[3]

Hadjithomas and Joreige are also university lecturers in Lebanon and Europe and the authors of numerous publications and performances. Joana Hadjithomas is a former member of the Curriculum Committee of the Ashkal Alwan Academy, Home Work Space.[4] Both artists are co-founders of Abbout Productions,[5] with Georges Schoucair and executive members of the board of Metropolis Art Cinema and the Cinemathèque in Beirut.[6]


As well as artists, Hadjithomas and Joreige are film directors.[7][8] Their filmography includes documentaries such as Khiam 2000 – 2007 (2008), The Lebanese Rocket Society : The Strange Tale of the Lebanese Space Race (2013), which received multiple awards such as Best Documentary Award in Doha Tribeca Festival, Qatar,[9] and ISMYRNA (2016) as well as feature films including Around the Pink House, (1999), A Perfect Day, (2005)[10][11], premiered at Locarno International Film Festival and awarded, among many other prizes, the Fipresci Press Prize[12] and Je Veux Voir (I Want to See) (2008), starring Catherine Deneuve and Rabih Mroué, which premiered in the official selection of Cannes Film Festival in 2008 and was awarded Best Singular Film by the French Critics Guild.[13][6]

In their fiction films, they are known to borrow tropes from documentary filmmaking, and vice versa, blurring the lines between the real and the illusory.

Several retrospectives of their films have been presented in renowned institutions such as Tate Modern (London), Cinematek (Brussels), Flaherty Seminar (New York), Institut Français and Mori Art Museum (Tokyo), International Film Festival of Gijon (Spain), Harvard Film Archive (Cambridge), Locarno International Film Festival (Switzerland) and MoMA (New York).[14] Their latest feature film, Memory Box will be released in 2021.


Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige in the IVAM, Valencia, 2017.

In 2017 Hadjithomas and Joreige won The Marcel Duchamp Prize for their presentation Unconformities, shown at the Pompidou Center in Paris.[15] The installation constituted of core samples that had been collected over the past three years, underneath the cities omnipresent in the artists’ history and thinking: Athens, Paris and Beirut. Hadjithomas and Joreige have described this project as an interrogation about the possible era of the Anthropocene.[16]

Since 1999, the artists have collected over four thousand junk emails, digital scams intended to con their readers into sending financial aid. Over the course of many exhibitions and installations, Hadjithomas and Joreige created an itinerary around these modern day scams, and traced their history back to the literary tradition known as The Jerusalem Letter.[17] As part of this project SCAMS (2014), Hadjithomas and Joreige created the sound and video installation The Rumor of the World, where they asked 38 amateur actors to read and incarnate these scams. A monograph under this title was published in 2015, edited by Omar Kholeif.[18]

In 2016 they presented works such as I stared at Beauty So Much, a series of video and photographic works questioning: how can poetry be pitted against the chaos of today's world? The series focuses on the place where fiction and real modes intersect and blur; and in 2017, they started developing the art project Unconformities which unveils the geological and archaeological undergrounds of cities. Under The Cold River Bed (2020) is their latest installation, as part of Unconformities, and tells the story of the "Nahr el Bared" refugee camp in the North of Beirut which was destroyed in 2007, leaving more than 30,000 people homeless. During reconstruction works, major archaeological discoveries were made, going down to as early as the Neolithic period and up to the great Roman city of Orthosia. Despite the important findings, the authorities were running out of time and refugee housing needed to be built. A decision was taken, with a lot of controversy, to backfill the entire camp and seal it as a sarcophagus, protecting the archeological discoveries with a gigantic geo-textile and covering it with a concrete screed. “The sculpture presented by the artists shows the thin membrane between the past and the future, an imprint of the sarcophagus of the camp, while documents tell its archeological, human and military history, its destruction, and its reconstruction.”.[19]

In 2016 and 2017 Hadjithomas and Joreige presented a large selection of their work from the late 1990s to the present day in 'Two Suns in a Sunset', a traveling museum exhibition that was shown at the Jeu de paume in Paris,[20] Sharjah Art Foundation in Sharjah,[21] Haus der Kunst in Munich[22] and IVAM in Valencia.[23]

Their artworks are part of major private and public collections including British Museum (London), Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), Fond national d’art contemporain (France), MCA Chicago, Museum of Modern Art (Paris), Sharjah Art Foundation (UAE), Solomon R Guggenheim Museum (New York),[24] and Victoria & Albert Museum (London) and they regularly present their works in solo and group exhibitions in museums and art centers around the world. They participated in many biennials such as Taipei, Venice, Istanbul, Lyon, Sharjah, Kochi, Gwangju, and the Paris Triennale.[6]

They are represented by in Situ – fabienne leclerc[25] in Paris (France), and The Third Line[26] in Dubai (UAE).

Awards and prizesEdit


The Marcel Duchamp Prize: won[27][28][29]


Best Documentary Award for The Lebanese Rocket Society: The Strange Tale of the Lebanese Space Race, Doha Tribeca Festival, Qatar.[30]

Abraaj Capital Art Prize, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.[31]


Best Singular Film for Je veux voir, Syndicat Français de la Critique de Cinéma et des Films de Télévision, Paris, France.[13]

Non-fiction and Documentary Award for Je veux voir, Gijón International Film Festival, Spain.[32]

Prix Georges de Beauregard pour Khiam, FID Marseille[33]


Fipresci Prize and Don Quixote Award for A Perfect Day, Locarno International Film Festival, Switzerland.[34]

Bayard d’Or for Best Actor and Special Jury Mention for A Perfect Day, Namur Francophone International Film Festival, Belgium.[35][36]

Montgolfière d’Argent, Best Actor and SACEM Prize for Sound and Original Music for A Perfect Day, Festival des 3 Continents, Nantes, France.[37]

Best Film (with distribution assistance) for A Perfect Day, Belfort Entrevues International Film Festival, France[38]


Best Film Award for Around the Pink House, Beirut International Film Festival, Lebanon.[39]


· 2021: Memory Box, Fiction, 95min

. 2016: ISRMYRNA, in conversation with Etel Adnan, Documentary, 53 min[40]

· 2013: The Lebanese Rocket Society: The Strange Tale of the Lebanese Space Race, Documentary, 93 min[41][42][43][44]

· 2008: Khiam 2000–2007, Documentary, 103 min[45]

· 2008: Je veux voir [fr] (I want to see), fiction, 75 min[46][47][48][49]

· 2006: Open the Door, Please, Fiction, 11 min[50][51]

· 2005: A Perfect Day (Yawmon Akhar), Fiction, 88 min

· 2003: Ashes (Ramad), fiction, 26 min

. 2003: The Lost Film (Al Film Al Mafkoud), Documentary, 42 min

· 2001: Barmeh (Rounds), fiction, 8 min 2000: Khiam, Documentary, 52 min

· 1999: Around the Pink House (Al Bayt Al Zaher), fiction, 92 min[52]


Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, Two suns in a Sunset, co-edition Jeu de Paume / Sharjah Art Foundation / Haus der Kunst / Institut Valencià d’Art Modern / Koenig Books, 2016.[53]

Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige. The Rumors of the World. Rethinking Trust in the Age of the Internet, edited by Omar Kholeif, Berlin: Sternberg, 2015.

‘Khalil Joreige & Joana Hadjithomas. Le centre d’art du 3bisf, Aix-en-Provence, et le Frac Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur’, Semaine, special issue ‘Ulysses’, no. 18, 2014.

Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, edited by Clément Dirié., Zurich: JRP | Ringier, Montreal: Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery, 2013.

Le Cinéma de Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige. Entretiens avec Quentin Mével, Paris: éditions Independencia, 2013.[54]

El Blanco de los Orígenes. Cuaderno de Textos e Imágenes sobre el Cine de Joana Hadjithomas y Khalil Joreige, Gijón: Gijón International Film Festival, 2008.

Joana Hadjithomas et Khalil Joreige. Je veux voir, Paris: Cahiers du cinéma, coll. ‘Carnets de cinéastes’, 2007.


  1. ^ "Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige. Ismyrne". Le Jeu de Paume. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  2. ^ Dirié, Clément, ed. (2013). Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige. Zurich: JRP | Ringier. p. 44.
  3. ^ "Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige: My Infuences | Frieze".
  4. ^ "Ashkal Alwan – Home Workspace Program 2014–15". Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  5. ^ "Abbout Productions".
  6. ^ a b c "Biography | Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige". Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  7. ^ "Khalil Joreige". IMDb. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  8. ^ "Joana Hadjithomas". IMDb. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  9. ^ "The Lebanese Rocket Society". Doha Film Institute. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  10. ^ "Entretien avec Joana Hadjithomas et Khalil Joreige | Les Fiches du Cinéma". Les Fiches du Cinéma | Maison d'édition cinéma depuis 1934 (in French). 2 March 2006. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  11. ^ "A Perfect Day". Abbout Productions. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  12. ^ "58th Locarno International Film Festival". Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  13. ^ a b "Prix du Syndicat français de la critique de cinéma et des films de télévision". Wikipédia (in French). 18 February 2017.
  14. ^ "Je veux voir (I Want to See). 2008. Written and directed by Joana Hadjithomas, Khalil Joreige | MoMA". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  15. ^ Khoury, Giles. "Joana Hadjithomas et Khalil Joreige rendent visible l'invisible". L'Orient Le Jour.
  16. ^ Production, Noirmont Art. "JOANA HADJITHOMAS & KHALIL JOREIGE". Noirmontartproduction Art Production. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  17. ^ "On Scams (I must first apologise) | Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige".
  18. ^ "Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige – The Rumors of the World – Les presses du réel (book)". Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  19. ^ "Taipei Biennial-Participants". Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  20. ^ "Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige". Le Jeu de Paume (in French). Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  21. ^ "news – Sharjah Art Foundation". Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  22. ^ Villarreal, Ignacio. "Haus der Kunst exhibits works by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige". Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  23. ^ "IVAM – Institut Valencià d'Art Modern | Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige. Two Suns in a Sunset". Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  24. ^ "The Guggenheim Museums and Foundation". The Guggenheim Museums and Foundation. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  25. ^ "Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige". In Situ.
  26. ^ "Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige". The Third Line.
  27. ^ Greenberger, Alex (16 October 2017). "Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige Win 2017 Prix Marcel Duchamp". ARTnews. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  28. ^ "Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige win Prix Marcel Duchamp 2017 | Art Radar". Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  29. ^ "Le Prix Marcel Duchamp décerné à Joana Hadjithomas et Khalil Joreige". RTBF Culture (in French). 17 October 2017. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  30. ^ "The Lebanese Rocket Society". Doha Film Institute. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  31. ^ "Abraaj Capital Art Prize 2012 Winners Announced – The Abraaj Group". The Abraaj Group. 4 October 2011. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  32. ^ "Gijón International Film Festival (2008)". Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  33. ^ "FIDMarseille – Festival international de cinéma – International film festival". (in French). Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  34. ^ "Locarno International Film Festival (2005)". Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  35. ^ Anne-Laure (10 July 2017). "A Perfect Day". Festival International du Film Francophone de Namur (in French). Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  36. ^ "Archives". Festival International du Film Francophone de Namur (in French). Retrieved 28 January 2021.
  37. ^ "Festival des 3 Continents | Un jour parfait". Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  38. ^ "2005". Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  39. ^ "Autour de la Maison Rose | Beirut International Film Festival". Beirut International Film Festival. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  40. ^ "Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige. Ismyrne". Le Jeu de Paume (in French). Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  41. ^ "Lebanese Rocket Society: The strange story of Lebanon's space programme". Cineuropa – the best of european cinema. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  42. ^ "On the Lebanese Rocket Society". Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  43. ^ "The Lebanese Rocket Society". Abbout Productions. Abbout Productions. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  44. ^ "The Lebanese Rocket Society". Doha Film Institute. Retrieved 28 January 2021.
  45. ^ "Khiam 2000–2007". FIDMarseille (in French). Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  46. ^ Je veux voir, fiction. "Festival de Cannes". Retrieved 28 January 2021.
  47. ^ "Avant-première-"Je veux voir" de Joana Hadjithomas et Khalil Joreige: mon coup de coeur du Festival de Cannes, le film incontournable de cette fin d'année – IN THE MOOD FOR CINEMA". (in French). Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  48. ^ "Je veux voir". Abbout Productions. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  49. ^ "L'ACID – Je veux voir". Le site de l'ACID – Association du Cinéma Indépendant pour sa Diffusion. Retrieved 28 January 2021.
  50. ^ "Open the door please". Le kinétoscope (in French). Retrieved 28 January 2021.
  51. ^ "French Film Festival – Open the Door Please". Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  52. ^ "FILMS". Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  53. ^ Faitot, Julie (30 November 2016). "Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige". Critique d'art. Actualité internationale de la littérature critique sur l'art contemporain (47). doi:10.4000/critiquedart.23284. ISSN 1246-8258.
  54. ^ "Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige : Le cinéma de Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige – Entretiens avec Quentin Mével – Les presses du réel (livre)". Retrieved 28 January 2021.

External linksEdit