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Teaching Staff

Prof. Jalal Toufic


Office: RRS 627

Tel: 3411 8092

Email: jtoufic@hkbu.edu.hk

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. He received a BA in Philosophy from the American University of Beirut in 1984; an MA in Cinema Studies from New York University in 1987; and a PhD in Radio/TV/Film from Northwestern University in 1992. 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: http://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, Documenta 13, 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, based in Beirut. He was the Director of the School of Visual Arts at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts (Alba) from September 2015 to August 2018.


Research: (thought-provoking and/or art-provoking) thought; mortality; jouissance; the dancer’s two bodies; silence-over and the immobilization it produces; radical closure and the irruption of unworldly ahistorical fully-formed entities it allows; the withdrawal of tradition past a surpassing disaster; aphoristic writing; messianism; creating universes that don’t fall apart “two days” later.


What Was I Thinking? Berlin: e-flux journal-Sternberg Press, 2017.

The Dancer’s Two Bodies. Sharjah, UAE: Sharjah Art Foundation, 2015.

What Were You Thinking? Berlin: Berliner Künstlerprogramm/DAAD, 2011.

The Portrait of the Pubescent Girl: A Rite of Non-Passage. Forthcoming Books, 2011.

What Is the Sum of Recurrently? Istanbul, Turkey: Galeri Nev, 2010.

Graziella: The Corrected Edition. Forthcoming Books, 2009.

The Withdrawal of Tradition Past a Surpassing Disaster. Forthcoming Books, 2009; Los Angeles: California Institute of the Arts/Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater [REDCAT], 2009 (as one of the volumes of the publication that accompanied Walid Raad’s exhibition Scratching on Things I Could Disavow: A History of Modern and Contemporary Art in the Arab World / Part I_Volume 1_Chapter 1 (Beirut: 1992–2005), edited by Clara Kim).

Undeserving Lebanon. Forthcoming Books, 2007.

‘Āshūrā’: This Blood Spilled in My Veins. Beirut, Lebanon: Forthcoming Books, 2005.

Two or Three Things I’m Dying to Tell You. Sausalito, CA: Post-Apollo Press, 2005.

Undying Love, or Love Dies. Sausalito, CA: Post-Apollo Press, 2002.

Forthcoming. Berkeley, CA: Atelos, 2000; 2nd ed., Berlin: e-flux journal-Sternberg Press, 2014.

Over-Sensitivity. Los Angeles: Sun & Moon Press, 1996; 2nd ed., Forthcoming Books, 2009.

(Vampires): An Uneasy Essay on the Undead in Film. Barrytown, New York: Station Hill Press, 1993; revised and expanded edition, Sausalito, CA: Post-Apollo Press, 2003.

Distracted. Barrytown, NY: Station Hill Press, 1991; 2nd ed., Berkeley, CA: Tuumba Press, 2003.

* With the exception of the most recent one (and the first editions of the four books that received a second, revised edition), my books are available for download as PDF files at http://www.jalaltoufic.com/downloads.htm.


Film Scripts:

Jouissance in Postwar Beirut. Forthcoming Books, 2014 (available for download as a PDF file at: http://www.jalaltoufic.com/downloads/Jalal_Toufic,_Jouissance_in_Postwar_Beirut.pdf)


Translated Books:


— Le Retrait de la tradition suite au désastre démesuré, trans. Omar Berrada and Ninon Vinsonneau. Paris: Les Prairies ordinaires, 2011 (available for download as a PDF file at http://www.jalaltoufic.com/downloads.htm).

— Distrait, trans. Guillaume Fayard. Paris: Les Petits matins, 2011.


— Vom Rückzug der Tradition nach einem unermesslichen Desaster, trans. Christoph Nöthlings. Berlin, Germany: August Verlag, 2011.

— Credits Included/Abspann inclusive, trans. Christoph Nöthlings. Vienna, Austria: Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, 2011.



Reading, Rewriting Poe’s “The Oval Portrait”—Angelically, part of dOCUMENTA (13)’s “100 Notes–100 Thoughts,” English/German (Ostfildern, Germany: Hatje Cantz, 2011).

Reading, Rewriting Poe’s “The Oval Portrait”—In Your Dreams (bilingual edition: English and Arabic) (Beirut, Lebanon: Ashkal Alwan, 2006).


Video/Mixed-Media/Conceptual Works:

The Matrix for Realists (aka Reviewing The Matrix in Terms of One Cypher), film, 50 hours and 48 minutes, 2018

The Matrix for Radical Simulationists (aka How to Read The Matrix as a Cypher), film, 72 hours and 36 minutes, 2018

The Matrix for Realists (aka Reviewing The Matrix in Terms of One Cypher)—A Timesaving, Perception-Taxing Version, film, 138 minutes, 2018

Vertiginous Variations on Vertigo, film, 110 minutes, 2016

An Indefinite Visit to Hong Kong, Solaris (in collaboration with Graziella Rizkallah Toufic), video, 19 minutes, 2016

The Return of the Dual-Use Memorial, mixed media, 2016

Victoria Rizkallah; or, The Sticking Out Hair (in collaboration with Graziella Rizkallah Toufic), video, 4 minutes, 2014

Variations on Guilt and Innocence in 39 Steps, video, 75 minutes, 2013

Ah İstanbul (in collaboration with Graziella Rizkallah Toufic), video, 20 minutes, 2013

Attempt 137 to Map the Drive (in collaboration with Graziella Rizkallah Toufic), video, 7 minutes, 2011

How to Read an Image/Text Past a Surpassing Disaster? mixed media, 2010

Lebanese Performance Art; Circle: Ecstatic; Class: Marginalized; Excerpt 3, video, 5 minutes, 2007

The Dual-Use Memorial, mixed media, 2007

Mother and Son; or, That Obscure Object of Desire (Scenes from an Anamorphic Double Feature), video, 41 minutes, 2006

Mother and Son: A Tribute to Alexander Sokurov, mixed media, 2006

‘Āshūrā’: This Blood Spilled in My Veins, c-prints, 2005

The Lamentations Series: The Ninth Night and Day, video, 59 minutes, 2005

Minor Art: Conceptual Posters and Book Covers (aka Minor Art: Conceptual Film and Video Posters), 2000–present

A Special Effect Termed “Time”; or, Filming Death at Work, video, 30 minutes, 2005

This Is Not to Say that this Is Not the Case, mixed media, 2004

I Am the Martyr Comrade Jamāl Sātī, mixed media, 2003

Saving Face, video, 8 minutes, 2003 (distributed, as part of the compilation Resistance[s]: Experimental Films from the Middle East and North Africa vol. 2, by Lowave, www.lowave.com)

‘Āshūrā’: This Blood Spilled in My Veins, mixed-media work with 7 looped videos (78 minutes; 59 minutes; 16 min; 10 min; 7 min; 1 min), and 3 banners, 2002

‘Āshūrā’: This Blood Spilled in My Veins, video, 78 minutes, 2002

The Sleep of Reason: This Blood Spilled in My Veins, video, 32 minutes, 2002

Phantom Beirut: A Tribute to Ghassan Salhab, video, 15 minutes, 2002

Two Posthumous Resumes, 2000

Overlooking the Unsightly to See, mixed media, 2000

Radical-Closure Artist with Bandaged Sense Organ, mixed media, 1997

‘Āshūrā’: This Blood Spilled in My Veins, two-channel video, 17 minutes, 1996

Credits Included: A Video in Red and Green, video, 43 minutes, 1995

*10 of the videos are available for viewing at https://vimeo.com/jalaltoufic.


Selected Exhibitions/Screenings:

Heavenly Beings: Neither Human nor Animal, +MSUM | Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, Ljubljana, Slovenia, July 10–November 4, 2018

—“Truth Is Black, Write over It with a Mirage’s Light,” Darat al Funun, Amman, Jordan, July 3–October 4, 2018.

—7th Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (UABB), “Cities, Grow in Difference,” Shenzhen, China, December 15, 2017–March 17, 2018

—“Home Beirut, Sounding the Neighbors,” MAXXI (National Museum of the 21st Century Arts), Rome, November 15, 2017–May 20, 2018

Artists’ Film International 10th Anniversary Screening, Whitechapel Gallery, London, September 7–17, 2017

—“I Can Call this Progress to Halt,” Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), March 8–April 23, 2017

—First Asia Biennial & 5th Guangzhou Triennial, December 11, 2015–April 10, 2016

—“Une histoire, art, architecture et design, des années 80 à aujourd’hui” (A History: Art, Architecture, and Design, from the 1980s Until Today), Centre Pompidou, Paris, September 16, 2015–January 2016

—Sharjah Biennial 11, United Arab Emirates, March 13–May 13, 2013

— “Performance Year Zero: A Living History,” Tate Modern, The Tanks, London, October 6, 2012

— 9th Shanghai Biennale, October 2, 2012–March 31, 2013

— “Six Lines of Flight: Shifting Geographies in Contemporary Art,” San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, September 15–December 31, 2012

— “Surplus Authors,” Witte de With | Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, September 5–January 6, 2013.

— “3rd Athens Biennale: Monodrome,” Greece, October 23–December 11, 2011

— “Wunder (Miracles),” the Deichtorhallen Hamburg and the Siemens Foundation, Hamburg, Germany, September 23, 2011–February 5, 2012

— “Image in the Aftermath,” Beirut Art Center, May 18–July 16, 2011

— “Jalal Toufic: Irruptions of the Real,” Daadgalerie, Berlin, May 13–June 18, 2011

— Sharjah Biennial 10: “Plot for a Biennial,” United Arab Emirates, March 16–May 16, 2011

— “Art in the Auditorium,” Kunsthaus Zürich, Switzerland, March 1–June 1, 2011

— “Giorgio Andreotta Calo, Jalal Toufic, Huang Xiaopeng,” Whitechapel Gallery, London, January 28–April 17, 2011

— “Blind Dates: New Encounters from the Edges of a Former Empire,” Pratt Manhattan Gallery, New York City, November 19, 2010–February 11, 2011

— “Exploring Documentary: Pamphlet #9—Chants de guerre, mélancolie. Coup de couteau (Songs of War, Melancholy. Stab Wounds),” Centre Pompidou, Paris, March 25, 2010

— “Cine Forum 6—Healing Gestures,” Museum of Art, Seoul National University, February 25–April 28, 2010

— “Medium Religion,” ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art, Karlsruhe, Germany, November 23, 2008–April 19, 2009

— “Home Works IV: A Forum on Cultural Practices,” the Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts Ashkal Alwan, Sfeir Semler Gallery, Beirut, April 12–May 31, 2008

— “Art Now in Lebanon,” Darat al Funun, Amman, Jordan, March 4–May 29, 2008

— “Memorial to the Iraq War,” Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), London, May 23–June 27, 2007

— “Lowave, Résistance(s)—Experimental Films from the Middle East and North Africa,” Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, Germany, May 4, 2007

— “Coding: Decoding,” in “Images of the Middle East,” the Museum of Contemporary Art, Roskilde, Denmark, September 23, 2006, and Nikolaj, Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center, Denmark, October 1, 2006

— “Out of Beirut,” Modern Art Oxford, Oxford, England, May 13 to July 16, 2006

— “Filming Death at Work,” Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel, Germany, April 12–May 14, 2006

—“Sequence of Tense,” Alternative Space Pool, Seoul, South Korea, December 16, 2005–January 11, 2006

—“Home Works III: A Forum on Cultural Practices,” Beirut, Lebanon, November 21 and 23, 2005

—“Normalization,” Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center, Istanbul, Turkey, March 10–April 23, 2005

—“Focus Jalal Toufic,” 16th International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam (IDFA), November 22, 25 and 29, 2003

—14th Festival Internacional De Arte Electrônica—Videobrasil, SESC Pompéia, São Paulo, September 27, 2003

—“DisORIENTation: Contemporary Arab Artistic Practices from the Middle East,” House of World Cultures, Berlin, April 12, 2003

—6th Sharjah International Biennial, United Arab Emirates, April 8–May 8, 2003

—“Synopsis II-Theologies,” National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, October 15, 2002–January 5, 2003

—“Contemporary Arab Representations: Beirut/Lebanon,” Witte de With, Rotterdam, September 15–November 24, 2002; Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona, May 3–July 14, 2002

—“Home Works: A Forum on Cultural Practices in the Region: Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria,” the Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts Ashkal Alwan, Beirut, Lebanon, April 7, 2002

—“Bottoms Up,” The Lab, San Francisco, June 5–July 3, 1998

—“East of Here … (re) Imagining the ‘Orient,’” YYZ Artists’ Outlet, Toronto, Canada, December 14, 1996



—“Thinking What’s Thought-Provoking!” book series, Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE.

Thinking: The Ruin, ed. Matthew Gumpert and Jalal Toufic (Istanbul, Turkey: Rezan Has Museum, 2010); available for download at:


Lapses vol. 2, Turkish translation by Nuşin Odelli (bilingual: English/Turkish). Istanbul: Turkish Pavilion of the Venice Biennale, 2009.

Review of Photographic Memory (Beirut: Arab Image Foundation, 2004).

—“Mortals to Death,” special issue, Discourse 24, no. 1 (Winter 2002),


— “Qabla ’an yartadda ’ilayka Tarfuka: tajārib lubnāniyya fī as-sīnamā wa-l-vīdīyū wa-l-tajhīz” (Before Thy Gaze Returns to Thee: Experimental Lebanese Cinema/Video/Installation Works), dossier, Al-Ādāb (January–February 2001): 18–76; available online at: http://www.mafhoum.com/press/adab56/adab.htm.

—“Middle Eastern Films Before Thy Gaze Returns to Thee,” special issue, Discourse 21, no. 1 (Winter 1999); available online at:


—[Coeditor,] “Gilles Deleuze: A Reason to Believe in this World,” special issue, Discourse 20, no. 3 (Fall 1998). http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/discourse/vol20/iss3/