Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, Winning Artists, Abraaj Group Art Prize 2012
A Letter Can Always Reach its Destination,Video installation
For over a decade Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige have been collecting spam and scam emails instead of automatically relegating them to the trash as most of us do. These unsolicited emails pry on our empathy for monetary donations or promise us easy fortunes. Originating often in countries where corruption is rife, these emails are stories and documents rooted within specific historical and geo-political moments. As such these narratives of swindle can be read as representations of our time, unintentional narrations of history, told by characters which constitute a fictive presence, but are sent by a real person.
Hadjithomas & Joreige have articulated an imaginary embodiment of these emails that clutter our inboxes on a daily basis. They have used the textual source material of selected spam and scam as visual narratives, image representations that become pieces of fiction by themselves, and beg the viewer’s suspension of disbelief.
Voiced by non-professional actors, the emails seem transformed into scenarios for monologues; stories which become captivating, or even moving because they are told by what seems to be a “real” person. Nevertheless, the presence and complex layering of technological communication is echoed in the display, where one projection is ephemerally super-imposed upon another, creating a ghostlike sensibility where the virtual and physical meet.
About Joana and Khalil
Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige are artists and filmmakers. For the last 15 years they have focused on the images, representations and history of their home country, Lebanon. Together they have directed documentaries such as Khiam 2000-2007 and El Film el Mafkoud (The lost film), and feature films such as Al Bayt el Zaher (1999) and A Perfect Day (2005). Their last feature film Je veux voir (I want to see), starring Catherine Deneuve and Rabih Mroue, premiered at Cannes Film festival in 2008 and was awarded ‘Best Singular Film’ by the French critics. Their films have been enthusiastically received, won many awards in international festivals and have enjoyed releases in many countries.
They have created numerous photographic installations, among them: Faces, Lasting Images, Distracted Bullets, The Circle of Confusion, Don’t walk, War Trophies, Landscape of Khiam, A Fareway Souvenir and the multifaceted project Wonder Beirut. Their artwork has been shown in museums, biennials and art centers around the world and is part of important public and private collections, such as Musee d’art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, FNAC France, Guggenheim, New York, US, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France and the Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE. They presented their most recent art project, Lebanese Rocket Society, Elements for a Monument (2011) at the Sharjah Biennial and Biennale de Lyon.
They are the authors of numerous publications as well as university lecturers in Lebanon and France, members of the board of Metropolis Cinema and co-founders of Abbout Productions with Georges Schoucair. Hadjithomas is also a board member of the Ashkal Alwan Academy, Home Workspace. They are represented by CRG Gallery, New York, In Situ Fabienne Leclerc, Paris and The Third Line, Dubai and live between Beirut and Paris.