• An Incident
    Mariam Ghani

Richard Finnie, "Portrait of Raymond Ghosn at the American University of Beirut (AUB) Architecture Faculty," 1958. Black and white photograph, 4 3/4 x 7 1/8 in. Courtesy American University of Beirut Library Archives

An Incident is a film about a family mystery, a school of architecture, and a nation on the brink of civil war. It starts with the assassination of the artist’s great-uncle, architect Raymond Ghosn, at the American University of Beirut (AUB) in 1976, and traces the lines of influence that stretch to and from that event—from his time at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with Alvar Aalto and Gyorgy Kepes, to his role in cofounding the AUB architecture school, to the PLO-affiliated student who shot him, and the other students who went on to rebuild Beirut after the war. An Incident recalls a moment when a civil war had not yet become a war, and the fate of Lebanon still hung suspended, with any incident capable of tipping the balance. The film draws parallels between that moment and Lebanon's current disorder by following architectural through lines from the past to the present, exploring buildings as repositories of memories, dreams, ambitions, failures, historical scars, and future possibilities.

Mariam Ghani is an artist, writer, and filmmaker. Her films, public projects, photographs, and installations have been presented and collected worldwide, notably in Times Square, New York; LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal C, New York; the Guggenheim Museum, New York; New Museum, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB), Barcelona; Secession, Vienna; Documenta 13; the Dhaka Art Summi; and the Liverpool, Lahore, Yinchuan, and Sharjah Biennials; and the Rotterdam, CPH:DOX, SFFILM, DOC NYC, Sheffield Doc/Fest, and Ann Arbor film festivals. Museum solo shows include the St. Louis Art Museum, the Blaffer Art Museum in Houston, and the Queens Museum of Art in New York. Ghani’s first feature film, the critically acclaimed documentary What We Left Unfinished, premiered at the 2019 Berlinale, was released theatrically in the United States by Dekanalog, and had its streaming premiere on the Criterion Channel. Her second feature film, Dis-Ease, is supported by Field of Vision, NYSCA, and the Wellcome Trust. Ghani teaches film and video at Bennington College.