Wednesdays, 12:00PM -2:00PM
Laila Shereen Sakr is engaged in an ongoing posthuman performance of VJ Um Amel. She writes, develops software, and produces multimodal art to theorize technology, language, and the body. Sakr is Assistant Professor of Media Theory & Practice at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she co-founded the digital media studio Wireframe with Professor Alenda Chang. Recently, she premiered a solo exhibition, Beit Um Amel, in Cairo at the Tahrir Cultural Center in 2020; and a year later, she premiered Capital Glitch: Arab Cyborg Turns to D.C. at the Qualcomm Institute Gallery at UC San Diego. She was awarded the 2021 American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Digital Extension Award to develop Arab Data Bodies, a game driven by social media data. Her book, Arabic Glitch: Technoculture, Data Bodies, and Archives, is forthcoming in 2023 from Stanford University Press.
VJ Um Amel has shown internationally in solo and group exhibitions and performances at galleries and museums, including the San Francisco MoMA, Fridge Art Gallery in Washington, DC, National Gallery of Art in Jordan, Camera Austria, Cultura Digital in Brazil, Kirchner Cultural Centre in Argentina, Tahrir Cultural Center in Egypt, Lagos Biennial in Nigeria, and the Qualcomm Institute in San Diego. Her peer-reviewed articles appear in Middle East Critique, Cinema Journal Teaching Dossier, Networking Knowledge: Journal of the Media, Communication, and Cultural Studies, Cyber Orient, Parson’s Journal for Information Mapping, Thoughtmesh: Critical Code Journal, and Feminist Debates in Digital Humanities.
Over the last two decades, she has been a leading voice in the open-source movement, in particular for Arabic localization. In 2009, she launched the R-Shief media system that went on to archive over 70 billion social media posts in seventy-two languages and developed software to analyze multi-dimensional data. She is Co-Editor for the open-access journal: Media Theory, and for After Video published by Open Humanities Press. She is also an editorial board member of Punctum Books. Reviews of her work appear in Necsus Journal, The Wall Street Journal, Science, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Fast Company, The Huffington Post, The Guardian, Voice of America, Al-Ahram, Art Territories, Digital Media and Learning, Egypt Independent, Medium, Mada Masr, Jadaliyya, and The Creators Project.Download CV