Jalal Toufic is a thinker and a mortal to death. He was born in 1962 in Beirut or Baghdad and died before dying in 1989 in Evanston, Illinois. His most recent book is What Was I Thinking? (e-flux journal-Sternberg Press, 2017). His other books are available for download at his website: www.jalaltoufic.com. Most of his videos are available for viewing on Vimeo. He was a participant in the Sharjah Biennials 6, 10, and 11, the 9th Shanghai Biennale, Six Lines of Flight (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art), and A History: Art, Architecture, and Design, from the 1980s until Today (Centre Pompidou), etc. In 2011, he was a guest of the Artists-in-Berlin Program of the DAAD; and in 2013–2014, he and Anton Vidokle led Ashkal Alwan’s third edition of Home Workspace Program. He was the Director of the School of Visual Arts at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts (Alba) from September 2015 to August 2018, and he is currently a Professor at the Department of Humanities and Creative Writing at Hong Kong Baptist University.
Corine directed her first long documentary Les femmes bonnes between 2000 and 2006
observing the life of Doulika and other Sri Lankan women. She directed several shorts such as Daniela questioning the body and gender identity, Oxygen that squeezes her family to discuss a taboo matter and Affinity that reflects on friendship’s boundaries. Film of welcome and farewells depicts loneliness and death in Copenhagen (selected at the Lebanese Film Festival and les Écrans du Réel 2010). Je t’aime infiniment
examines the fragility of human beings (selected at CPH:DOX, Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival). Her last film E Muet, is concerned with friendship, love and its expression (selected at FID Marseille for the international competition 2013). Besides making her own films, she has been a consultant for the National Film School of Denmark to implement an exchange program of filmmakers between Lebanon and Denmark. She has also been teaching documentary at IESAV, Saint Joseph University.
Rania Stephan (b. Beirut) graduated in Cinema Studies from LaTrobe University in Australia and Paris 8 University in France. She works in video and documentary. Anchored in the turbulent reality of her country, Stephan’s documentaries give a personal perspective to political events. She intertwines raw images with a poetic edge, where chance encounters are captured with compassion and humour. Her most recent projects investigate forgotten images and sounds that haunt the present. Stephan’s first feature film The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni won the Artist’s Prize at Sharjah Biennale 10, the Renaud Victor Prize at FID MARSEILLE International Cinema Festival, and the Best Filmmaker Award at the 2011 Doha Tribeca Film Festival.
Raed Yassin (born 1979, Beirut) lives and works in Beirut. He graduated from the Theatre Department of the Institute of Fine Arts in Beirut in 2003, and in 2015 he was awarded a research fellowship at the Akademie der Künste der Welt in Cologne. An artist and musician, Yassin’s work often originates from an examination of his personal narratives and their position within a collective history, through the lens of consumer culture and mass production. One of the organisers of Irtijal Festival – Beirut’s experimental contemporary music festival – Yassin has released several music albums and founded the production company Annihaya in 2009. He is also a founding member of Atfal Ahdath, a Beirut-based art collective.
He has exhibited and performed in numerous museums, festivals and venues, including Notingham contemporary (2017), the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2016), Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2014), Kunsthalle Wien (2015), ICA London (2014), Gwangju Museum of Art (2014), Castello di Rivoli, Turin (2014), Kalfayan Galleries, Athens (2011, 2014 & 2017), Boghossian Foundation – Villa Empain, Brussels (2013), Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2012), New Museum, New York (2012), Sharjah Biennial 9 & 10 (2009 & 2011), Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2011), and Delfina Foundation, London (residency 2014 & 2010 – 2011). Yassin is also a recipient of the Sharjah Art Foundation Project Fund (2014), Abraaj Group Art Prize (2012), Fidus Prize (2009), AFAC grant for production (2010), YATF grant for production (2008 & 2012) and the Cultural Resource grant for production (2008).
Lamia Joreige (b. 1972, Beirut) is a visual artist and filmmaker. She earned her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, where she studied painting and filmmaking. She uses archival documents and elements of fiction to reflect on history and its possible narration, and on the relationship between individual stories and collective memory. Joreige’s artworks have been presented in various international exhibitions, including: MAXXI and Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo (Italy); Centre Pompidou and Musée Nicéphore Niépce (France); Radcliffe Institute and Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University, the International Center of Photography, the New Museum, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (USA); Liverpool Biennial, Tate Modern, Serpentine Gallery and Cardiff National Museum (U.K.); Sharjah Biennial (UAE) and Marfa’ Gallery and Home Works editions I, IV & VII, Ashkal Alwan (Lebanon). She presented her films at festivals such as: Medfilm Festival, Rome (Awarded the 2015 Amore & Psiche Award For The Best Film); FID Marseille; Les Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin; Paris Cinéma; The Mediterranean Festival of Cinema, Montpellier; Festival du film Libanais and Beirut Cinema Days, Beirut. Joreige was the 2016–2017 fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and was shortlisted for Artes Mundi 7, the United Kingdom’s leading biennial art prize. She is a co-founder and board member of Beirut Art Center, which she co-directed from 2009 to 2014. Joreige lives and works in Beirut.
Cynthia Zaven is a composer, pianist and artist based in Beirut. Her projects combine a variety of media including video, photography, performance and the use of archive material to explore the relationship between sound, memory and identity through interwoven narratives. Her works include Untuned Piano Concerto With Delhi Traffic Orchestra (performance, 2006), Morse Code Composition (Soundworks, ICA, 2012), Bunker Fairy Tale (12 channel sound installation with video, 2013), and more recently, Perpetuum Mobile, a 12 channel sound installation that was exhibited within the epic temple of Bacchus, in the World Heritage site of Baalbeck, and nominated for the Prix Ars Electronica Award 2017.
Born in Dakar, Senegal. In addition to making his own films, he collaborates on various scenarios and teaches film in Lebanon. He has directed six feature films: BeyrouthFantôme, Terra Incognita, The Last Man, 1958, The Mountain and The Valley… all films have been selected in various international film festivals — in addition to numerous “essays”, and different “video works”, including (Posthumous), Chinese ink, Son Image, and Le voyage immobile with Mohamed Soueid.… In 2016, he was a DAAD (Berlin) guest-resident. La Rochelle International Film Festival, JC Carthage and La Cinémathèque du Québec in Montréal made a tribute to his work… His latest feature Une rose ouverte has been selected at Berlinale Forum 2019. He has also published different texts and articles in various magazines, and a book, “fragments du Livre du naufrage”.
Ahmad Ghossein is an artist and filmmaker. He holds a BFA in Theater from the Lebanese University, Beirut and an MFA in Visual Art from the National Academy of Art (KHIO), Oslo. Ghossein’s practice utilizes a number of media, including video, photography, film, installation, and public space. His work is driven by personal and emotional experience and larger political dynamics of his time. Ghossein was artist in residence at Inclusartiz Institute, Rio de Janeiro, 2018. He is the recipient of the 2014 Production Programme Award by Sharjah Art Foundation; 2013 Ibsen Scholarship Award; and 2011 Best Short Film at Doha Tribeca Film Festival. His work has been exhibited and screened in various museums and film festivals including MoMa, New York; New Museum, New York; Sharjah Biennale 10 and 12; Center Pompidou, Paris; SeMA Biennale Mediacity Seoul; Oslo Kunstforening; Home Works 7, Ashkal Alwan, Beirut; Nam June Paik Art Center, Seoul; Cannes Film Festival; Berlinale Film Festival; Dubai Film Festival; and Doha Tribeca Film Festival.
Born in 1989, Mohamed Berro is a Lebanese artist-filmmaker working and residing around Beirut. He graduated with a BA in film making in 2014 and was part of Ashkal Alwan’s HWP post-graduate program in 2015. His work has been shown in venues such as Beirut Art Center, the 20MinMax International Short Film Festival, Gothenburg Independent Film Festival, NUFF 2014, Arab Short Film Festival in Beirut, Filofest Slovenia 2014, Videoworks 2015, Longue Vue Sur Les Courts Canada, Lebanese film festival and VideoEx 2016.
Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme work together across a range of sound, image, text, installation and performance practices. Their practice is engaged in the intersections between performativity, political imaginaries, the body and virtuality. Across their works they probe a contemporary landscape marked by seemingly perpetual crisis and an endless ‘present’, one that is shaped by a politics of desire and disaster. They have been developing a body of work that questions this suspension of the present and searches for ways in which an altogether different imaginary and language can emerge that is not bound within colonial/capitalist narrative and discourse. In their projects, they find themselves excavating, activating and inventing incidental narratives, figures, gestures and sites as material for re-imagining the possibilities of the present. Often reflecting on ideas of non-linearity in the form of returns, amnesia and deja vu, and in the process unfolding the slippages between actuality and projection (fiction, myth, wish), what is and what could be. Largely their approach has been one of sampling materials both existing and self-authored in the form of sound, image, text, objects and recasting them into altogether new ‘scripts’. The result is a practice that investigates the political, visceral, material possibilities of sound, image, text and site, taking on the form of multi-media installations and live sound/image performances.
aashra is an open-access video streaming platform that makes available a rotating selection of 10 films and videos from Ashkal Alwan’s audiovisual archive.
Ashkal Alwan is a non-profit organization committed to contemporary artistic practices, research, production, and education. Among its diverse initiatives, it has supported film and video production in Lebanon and the Arab region.
aashra is an Ashkal Alwan initiative, launched in 2018 on the occasion of its 25th anniversary.
Mounira Al Solh (b. 1978, Beirut, Lebanon), lives and works in Beirut and Amsterdam.
Mounira studied painting at the Lebanese University, Beirut from 1998 to 2001, and Fine Arts at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam from 2003 to 2006. She was also Research Resident at the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam in 2007 and 2008. She is a visual artist embracing inter alia video and video installations, painting and drawing, embroidery, and performative gestures. Irony and self-reflectivity are central strategies for her work, which explores feminist issues, tracks patterns of micro-history, is socially engaged, and can be political and escapist all at once. In 2008, Al Solh started a NOA Magazine, a performative gesture co-edited with collaborators such as Fadi El Tofeili and Mona Abu Rayyan, and Jacques Aswad (NOA III).
She has had solo exhibitions at the Art Institute Chicago (2018), ALT, Istanbul (2016), KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2014), Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut (2014), Center for Contemporary Art, Glasgow (2013), Art in General, New York (2012) and Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam (2011). As well as group exhibitions at dOCUMENTA 14, Athens & Kassel (2017), 56th Venice Biennial, Italy (2015), New Museum, New York (2014), Homeworks, Beirut (2013), House of Art, Munich (2010), and the 11th International Istanbul Biennial (2009).
Born Saida (Lebanon) 1966. Lives and works in Beirut.
Akram Zaatari has produced more than forty films and videos, a dozen books, and countless installations of photographic material, all pursuing a range of interconnected themes, subjects, and practices related to excavation, political resistance, the lives of former militants, the legacy of in exhausted left, intimacies among men, the circulation of images in times of war, and the play of tenses inherent to various letters have been lost, found, buried, discovered, or otherwise delayed in their destinations. Zaatari has played a critical role in developing the formal, intellectual, and institutional infrastructure of Beirut’s contemporary art scene. He was one of a handful of young artists who emerged from the delirious but short-lived era of experimentation in Lebanon’s television industry, which was radically reorganized after the country’s civil. As a co-founder of the Arab Image Foundation, a groundbreaking, artist-driven organization devoted to the research and study of photography in the region, he has made invaluable and uncompromising contributions to the discourse against photography and its disintegration, preservation and archival practice. Zaatari has been focusing since 2004 on studying the archive of studio photographer Hashem el Madani, who founded Shehrazade studio in Saida, where Zaatari filmed his latest feature Twenty Eight Nights and A Poem (2015).
Zaatari represented Lebanon at the Venice Biennial 2013. He has shown his films, videos, photographs, and other documents in Paris as a center, MoMA in NY, Tate Modern in London, Modern Museet in Stockholm, Macba in Barcelona and Kunsthaus Zurich. He has taken part in Documenta13 (2012), the biennials of Gwangju, Liverpool, Istanbul, Sao Paulo and Sydney.
His films have screened at the Berlinale, FID Marseilles, Rotterdam, Toronto, and Oberhausen film festivals.
Lina Majdalanie is concerned with contemplating the particularity of the Lebanese experience; questioning the signs of social and political reality through the many productions that she has directed, written and acted in. Today her work questions her citizenship and her place within public space, the notion of representation and the relation between the real and the fictional.
Roy Samaha is a Lebanese artist, living and working in Beirut. He explores the boundaries of filmic language, perception of reality and the memory of personal objects with works like, Residue (2017), Landscape at Noon (2016), Transparent Evil (2012), Inheritance & Dispossession (2008), Untitled for Several Reasons (2003), and has been shown at prestigious events such us, Sharjah Biennale 13 (Sharjah), Space Edits, B.A.C. (Beirut), Too Early Too Late, Pinacoteca Nazionale (Bologna), Home Works Forum 6 (Beirut), Disobedience Archive, Bildmuseet (Umea), Image Counter Image, Haus der Kunst (Munich), Singapore Biennale 1 (Singapore), and Videobrazil 14 SESC (Sao Paolo).
Maher Abi Samra (b. 1965 Beirut) studied Drama Arts at the Lebanese University in Beirut and Audio-Visual Studies at the Institut National de l’Image et du Son in Paris. He has worked as a photojournalist for Lebanese newspapers and international press agencies. Abi Samra directed several short length documentaries, including Shatila Roundabout (2004 – Prix Ulysse du Documentaire at the Festival Cinéma Méditerranéen Montpellier, 2006), Women of Hezbollah (2000), and Chronicle of Returning (1995). His feature documentaries We Were Communists and A Maid for Each (Makhdoumin) were respectively selected at Venice IFF in 2010 and the Berlinale Forum 2016.
Ali Cherri is a video and visual artist. His solo exhibitions include Dénaturé, Galerie Imane Farès, Paris (2017); Somniculus at Jeu de Paume, Paris and CAPC, Bordeaux (2017); From Fragment to Whole, Jönköpings Läns Museum, Sweden (2017); and A Taxonomy of Fallacies, Sursock Museum, Beirut (2016). His work has been exhibited in international museums, including Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Milan (2018); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2017); MAXXI, Rome (2017); Le MACVAL, Val-de-Marne (2017); Guggenheim, New York (2016); Aichi Triennial, Japan (2016). He’s the recipient of Harvard University’s Robert E. Fulton Fellowship (2016) and the Rockefeller Foundation Award (2017).
Roy Dib (b.1983) is an artist and filmmaker based in Beirut.
His work challenges common notions of space and boundary, weaving together archival material, scripted text and hypothetical circumstances to chronicle the political narratives of our day.
Dib’s work was presented at MAXXI Museum (2017), Sharjah Biennial 13 (2017), ALFILM (2017), JCC (2016), Forum Expanded – 64th and 65th Berlinale, Exposure 2015 – Beirut Art Center, Uppsala International Short Film Festival (2014), Queer Lisboa (2014), Images Festival (2016) Toronto, Contemporary Art Festival SESC_Videobrasil (2013, 2015 and 2017), Ashkal Alwan (2014) – Beirut, Video Works (2011 – 2014) – Beirut.
Marwa Arsanios is an artist, filmmaker and researcher who reconsiders politics of the mid-twentieth century from a contemporary perspective, with a particular focus on gender relations, urbanism and industrialisation. She approaches research collaboratively and seeks to work across disciplines.
Arsanios received a Master of Fine Art, University of the Arts London (2007) and was a researcher in the Fine Art Department, Jan Van Eyck Academie, Maastricht, The Netherlands (2011–2012). She is currently a phd candidate at the Akademie der bildenden Kunst in Vienna. She was awarded the Special Prize of the Pinchuk Future Generation Art Prize (2012), nominated for the Paulo Cunha e Silva Art Prize (2017) and for the Han Nefkens Foundation award in (2014). She was also a fellow at Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany (2014) and Tokyo Wonder Site, Tokyo Arts and Space (2010). She is the co-founder of 98weeks Research Project.
Nesrine Khodr is an artist working in film/video, print, and performance.
She studied History at the American University of Beirut and European Film at the University of Edinburgh and was an artist in residence at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam (2003-2004). Khodr’s films have been shown at the Berlinale’s Forum Expanded, Berlin; Sharjah Biennial, UAE; Beirut Art Center, Beirut; Höhenrausch, OK Center for Contemporary Art, Linz; Les écrans documentaires, Gentilly and Val-de-Marne; Biennale Mercosul; Tokyo Image Forum, Japan; Tate Modern, London; Transmediale, Berlin; Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt; and The Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil, Sao Paolo.
Rania and Raed Rafei are Lebanese filmmakers, and siblings. Together, they co-wrote and co-directed Prologue (2011), which later developed into a feature-length film, 74 (The Reconstitution of a Struggle) (2012). The Rafeis have since collaborated on the production and direction of several TV documentaries.
Rania is currently based in Beirut. Her other films include Notes on love in Copenhagen (2008), and The purgatory (2014). She has also directed several TV documentaries, the latest was Canada’s darkest secret (2017).
Raed is currently pursuing a PhD degree in Film and Digital Media at the University of California in Santa Cruz. His other films include Salam (2017) and Here I am … Here you are (2016).