Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige

A Letter Can Always Reach its Destination

Back to collections
Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, A Letter Can Always Reach its Destination, 2012, HD video and hologram screen, 122 mins. Courtesy of the artists and Jean Brasille. Art Jameel Collection

Artwork Details


Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige


A Letter Can Always Reach its Destination




HD video and hologram screen


122 mins

Credit Line

Art Jameel Collection

Work Description

Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige spent over a decade collecting spam and scam emails. These unsolicited emails pry on our empathy for monetary donations or promise us easy fortunes. Often originating from countries where corruption is rife, these emails are stories and documents rooted within specific historical and geopolitical moments. As such, these narratives of swindle can be read as representations of our time, unintentional snippets of history, told by characters who constitute a fictive presence, but sent by real people. Hadjithomas and Joreige have articulated an imaginary embodiment of these emails that clutter our inboxes on a daily basis; they use the textual source material of selected spam and scams as visual narratives-image representations that become pieces of fiction by themselves-and invite the viewer’s suspension of disbelief. Voiced by non-professional actors, these emails seem transformed into scenarios for monologues-stories that become captivating, 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 superimposed upon another, creating a ghostlike sensibility where the virtual and physical meet.

Artist Biography

Filmmakers and artists, Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige (both b. 1969, living and working in Paris, France) studied at the Université Paris X Nanterre, France, and they have worked together as both artists and filmmakers. They are known for their long-term research based on personal or political documents, with particular interests in the traces of the invisible and the absent, histories kept secret such as the disappearances during the Lebanese Civil War, a forgotten space project from the 1960s, the strange consequences of Internet scams and spams or the geological and archaeological undergrounds of cities. 

They have recently held two-person exhibitions at The Power Plant, Toronto (2019); VAM, Valencia, Spain (2017); Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany (2016); MIT List Visual Arts Center, Boston, United States (2016); Jeu de Paume, Paris, France (2016); and Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE (2016). They have exhibited in group exhibitions at venues including the 12th Taipei Biennial, Taiwan (2020); V-A-C Foundation, Venice (2019);  Today Art Museum, Beijing (2019); MAAT, Lisbon (2018); Documenta 14, Athens (2017); Centre Georges Pompidou , Paris (2017); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2016); the Guggenheim Museum, New York (2016); and the 56th Venice Biennale (2015). They were awarded the Marcel Duchamp Prize in 2017 and the Abraaj Art Prize in 2012. 

Useful Links

The Distance from Here