AFK | Screenings

To look and to loiter: Shafāfiyyāh and A Thousand-Year Stage

Batoul Faour, Daphne Xu
Curated by: Annie Wong
Overhead view of various pieces of colorful broken glass, assembled neatly. There is an arm on the left side arranging pieces of glass.
A woman and child stand and watch a construction site. The child is on a bike and wears a hat that says “Loved”.


Batoul Faour
Lebanon | 2023 | MP4 | 15 MIN | English and Arabic with English and Arabic subtitles

Following the destruction of the August 4, 2020 explosion in Beirut, this film examines a material politics of glass embedded in the collective Lebanese psychology. Using the genre of the essay-film , it unpacks a history of repeated political violence, while expanding the semiotics of glass to reveal the different social and cultural disparities within Beirut's built environment and the many dichotomies of its lived experience.

Innis Town Hall

2 Sussex Ave, Toronto, ON M5S 1J5

Sidewalk-level entrance, elevator and ramp available, door width 32 inches, no automatic doors. No accessible parking on-site. Four wheelchair accessible seats in the cinema. 15 step-free seats in row 9. Accessible gender-neutral washroom located on the 2nd and 3rd floor.

For a map of Innis Town Hall, click here

COVID-19 Policy

Images Festival is committed to providing an accessible festival and continues to work to reduce barriers to participation at our events. This year, we are implementing a COVID-19 policy to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission for all, and to prioritize the participation of people who are disability-identified, immunocompromised, or part of an otherwise vulnerable group.

The following guidelines will be in place: Self-Assessment: We ask that staff and participants screen themselves for COVID-19 before visiting the exhibition.

This shorts program couples Batoul Faour’s Shafāfiyyāh and Daphne Xu’s A Thousand-Year Stage to consider how urban infrastructures in cities as disparate as Beirut and Xiongan New Area, can function as sites where memory, power, and refusal consistently collide in the geographies of everyday life. 

In the immediate aftermath of the devastating explosion in August 2020, the city of Beirut was blanketed by glass debris. The disaster, triggered by a neglected, state-owned chemical warehouse, made transparent the corruption of Lebanon's political elite, deepening civil unrest against the country’s sectarian rule. In Shafāfiyyāh (“transparency” in Arabic), Faour looks to the materiality of glass – its sound, transparency, and weight – as a language for past and recurrent traumas in the collective memory of Beirut. Using the essay-film format, Faour refuses a position of neutrality, politicizing the glass fragments of the city from the explosion to the glass lens of the camera.  

In April 2018, the President of China announced the ambitious “Thousand-Year Project” that would transform the rural region of Xiong'an New Area, located 100km south of Beijing, into the next megacity. In A Thousand-Year Stage, filmmaker Daphne Xu captures the liminal condition of rural life at the cusp of rapid urbanization. As a high-speed rail station cuts across the landscape, local residents and migrant workers engage in live-stream performances and communal karaoke, while laboring and loitering on the train plazas and construction sites.

These new spaces become the stage where contemporary rural Chinese life takes shape in the transient period before urbanization takes hold. 

Batoul Faour

Batoul Faour is an architectural researcher, writer, and filmmaker. Her work operates at the intersection of politics, spatial histories, and media, blending a journalistic, documentary approach with the empirical and the architectural. She holds a BArch from the American University of Beirut and an MArch from the University of Toronto.

Daphne Xu

Daphne Xu is a Chinese-Canadian artist and filmmaker exploring the politics and poetics of place.

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