Laila Shereen Sakr

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Laila Shereen Sakr
VJ Um Amel, 2001.jpg
Born (1971-11-18) November 18, 1971 (age 49)
Alexandria, Egypt
EducationPhD in Media Arts and Practice from University of Southern California, M.F.A. in Digital Arts and New Media from University of California, Santa Cruz, and M.A. in Arab Studies from Georgetown University
Occupationartist, theorist, and lecturer
Known forCreating the award-winning media system, R-Shief (Arabic for 'archive'), and for predicting the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya in August 2011 using Twitter analytics.
Websitehttp://vjumamel.com

Laila Shereen Sakr (born 1971), known by her moniker, VJ Um Amel, is an Egyptian–American digital media theorist and artist. She is the founder of the digital lab, R-Shief, Inc.,[1] an Annenberg Fellow, and Assistant Professor of Media Theory & Practice at University of California, Santa Barbara,[2] where she founded the Wireframe digital media studio.[3]

In her manifesto, she writes, "I reappropriate emerging technologies in processes that are both creatively productive and critically analytical to offer insight into how people from different backgrounds and political actors can not only survive, but also become more empowered to create change in an increasingly networked culture."[4] She holds an M.F.A. in Digital Arts and New Media from University of California, Santa Cruz, an M.A. in Arab Studies from Georgetown University.,[5] and a PhD in Media Arts + Practice from the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts.[6]

Work[edit]

With a background in documentary film and web development, her current practices include system design, cultural analytics, computational art, video art, and immersive cinema. She is known for building R-Shief, "one of the largest repositories of Arabic-language tweets"[7] and for her predictive analytics of the fall of Qaddafi in Libya in August 2011.[8] This work emerged from her doctoral research and development. For the practical component of her doctoral dissertation, VJ Um Amel archived rare social media collections from the Arab uprising and Occupy movements from 2010–2014. She collaborated with a team of engineers to innovate trending, semantic, sentiment tools that analyze Arabic and seven other languages using machine learning. From the analytics processed from the archives, she created 3D games, documentary video, video remixes, computational drawings, data visualizations, and digital performances.

Her media work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions and performances at galleries and museums including the San Francisco MoMA, National Gallery of Art in Jordan, Camera Austria, Cultura Digital in Brazil, Kirchner Cultural Centre in Argentina, Tahrir Cultural Center in Cairo, Fridge Art Gallery in Washington, DC, and 100 Copies in Egypt, among other venues. At UCSB, she co-founded Wireframe, a new digital media studio that supports critical game design and digital arts practice.[9]

She is Co-Editor for the open access journal: Media Theory, and also for After Video published by Open Humanities Press. She collaborates with MIT’s Global Media Technologies & Cultures Lab as a Researcher. At UCSB, she is Faculty Affiliate in the Feminist Studies Department and the Center for Responsible Machine Learning, and serves on the advisory, executive, and steering committees for UCSB Digital Arts & Humanities Commons, Center for Middle East Studies, and Center for Information Technology & Society. Her current book project theorizes “glitch” as an experience of revolution and counterrevolution that occurred across the Arab world and reveals the indispensability, the promises, and the limits of digital communication across borders and languages.[10]

Her journal articles appear in Middle East Critique, Cinema Journal Teaching Dossier, Networking Knowledge: Journal of the Media, Communication, and Cultural Studies, Parson’s Journal for Information Mapping, Thoughtmesh: Critical Code Journal, and Feminist Debates in Digital Humanities.

Before developing her career in digital arts and culture, she published and performed poetry under her maiden name, Laila Shereen. She published in journals, and co-founded a couple spoken word collectives in Washington, D.C. including The D.C. Guerrilla Poetry Insurgency and Word of Mouth from 1999–2007. She worked as Multimedia and Publications Editor at Georgetown University's Center for Contemporary Arab Studies during that time. Earlier from 1993–1995, she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco where she taught English language and literature to university students in Fez at Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University's Faculty of Arts.[11]

Life[edit]

She was born in Alexandria, Egypt to Egyptian parents.[12]

Awards[edit]

  • Arab Council on Social Sciences (ACSS) research grant award to participate in working group on "Producing the Public: Space, Media, Participation," (2013–2015)[13]
  • Awarded Future Leadership Award by Egyptian American Association (November 2012)[14]
  • HASTAC Scholar nomination and award (2010–2011)[15]
  • Annenberg Graduate Fellowship (2010–2014)[16]

Publications[edit]

  • "A Digital Humanities Approach: Text, the Internet, and the Egyptian Uprising" – Middle East Critique.[17]
  • "The Materiality of Virtuality" in Mediating the Arab Uprisings, Eds. Iskander and Haddad.[18]
  • "Studying Social Streams: Cultural Analytics in Arabic"[19]
  • "Egypt's Presidential Election and Twitter Talk"[20]
  • "The Materiality of Virtuality: Internet Reporting On Arab Revolutions"[21]
  • "Collateral Damage: #Oslo Attacks and Proliferating Islamophobia"[22]
  • "The R-Shief Initiative: Proof of Concept"[23]
  • On Becoming Arab," "Give," "Human Skin"[24]
  • “Media-Making Madness: #Arab Revolutions from the Perspective of Egyptian-American”[25]
  • “From Archive to Analytics: Building Counter-Collections of Arabic Social Media”[26]
  • “On Developing a Teaching Module on Arab Social Media”[27]
  • "Ev-Ent-Anglement: Reflexively Extending Engagement By Way of Technology"[28]
  • "Security or Uncertainty: Stabilizing R-Shief Twitter Analysis during the Jasmine & Egyptian Revolutions"[29]
  • "The Virtual Body Politic: A Networked Political Mobilization of Information Patterns and Materiality"[30]
  • "Techies on the Ground: Revisiting Egypt 2011"[31]

Reviews[edit]

  • "In Cairo, Artists Use Pixels, Cyborgs, and More to Examine Technology and Belief"[32]
  • "The Sound of a Glitch"[33]
  • "AUC’s TCC Hosts Three Exhibitions on Art and Technology"[34]
  • "“#Intersection” Hashtag"[35]
  • "Data Bodies and Tech Activism with VJ Um Amel"[36]
  • "Understanding Social Movements through Social Media’s Big Data"[37]
  • "A billion tweets turned into virtual reality"[38]
  • "What’s Trending in Social Media on the Middle East?"[39]
  • "Fast Forward: The Future(s) of the Cinematic Arts"[40]
  • "Scholars Re-Examine Arab World’s ‘Facebook Revolutions'"[41]
  • "R-Shief's 5th Anniversary"[42]
  • "The Middle East finds its voice on social media"[43]
  • "New Texts Out Now: VJ Um Amel, A Digital Humanities Approach: Text, the Internet, and the Egyptian Uprising"[44]
  • "A year in review: When history becomes art"[45]
  • "'The People's Skype' and Occupy Wall Street Hackathons"[46]
  • "From the Manhattan Project to my Butt: Arms Control in the Information Age"[47]
  • "Social Scientists Wade into the Tweet Stream"[48]
  • "VJ Um Amel hits 'the social' in media"[49]
  • "Digital Learning and the Arab Spring"[50]
  • "Interview with VJ Um Amel"[51]
  • "Twitter's Window on Middle East Uprisings"[52]
  • "VJ Um Amel Remixes a Revolution"[53]
  • "Not Your Mother's VJ"[54]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "R-Shief". r-shief.org. Retrieved October 27, 2017.
  2. ^ "University of California, Santa Barbara - Film and Media Studies: People". Retrieved April 22, 2020.
  3. ^ "VJUmAmel". vjumamel.com. Retrieved April 22, 2020.
  4. ^ VJ, Um Amel. "A VJ Manifesto". VJ Um Amel. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  5. ^ UC Santa Cruz Digital Arts/New Media. "laila shereen sakr's danm thesis project, r-shief, lauches official website". Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  6. ^ "University of Southern California – Media Arts + Practice: People". Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  7. ^ Miller, Greg (September 30, 2011). "Social Scientists Wade into the Tweet Stream" (Vol. 333 no. 6051 pp. 1814–1815). Science. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  8. ^ Rose Gottemoeller Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance. "From the Manhattan Project to my Butt: Arms Control in the Information Age". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved October 13, 2014.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ "VJUmAmel". vjumamel.com. Retrieved April 22, 2020.
  10. ^ "VJUmAmel". vjumamel.com. Retrieved April 22, 2020.
  11. ^ Friedman, Jon (May 18, 2011). "Twitter's window on Middle East uprisings". MarketWatch. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
  12. ^ Friedman, Jon (May 18, 2011). "Twitter's window on Middle East uprisings". MarketWatch. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
  13. ^ "إنتاج "المجال العام" في المجتمعات العربية: المشاركة". Arab Council for the Social Sciences. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
  14. ^ "EAO Outstanding Achievement Award Recipients". Egyptian American Organization. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
  15. ^ "Laila Sakr". Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Collaboratory. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
  16. ^ North-Hager, Eddie (September 20, 2011). "Fellows forum covers events in the Middle East". USCNews. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
  17. ^ Shereen Sakr, Laila (December 16, 2013). "A Digital Humanities Approach: Text, the Internet, and the Egyptian Uprising". Middle East Critique. 22, Issue 3, 2013 (Special Issue: Special Issue: The Arab Uprisings of 2011): 247–263. doi:10.1080/19436149.2013.822241. S2CID 145129154.
  18. ^ Shereen Sakr, Laila (January 11, 2013). Mediating the Arab Uprisings. Tadween Publishing. ISBN 978-1939067005. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  19. ^ Shereen Sakr, Laila (October 31, 2012). "Studying Social Streams: Cultural Analytics in Arabic". Jadaliyya. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  20. ^ Shereen Sakr, Laila (May 26, 2012). "Egypt's Presidential Elections and Twitter Talk". Jadaliyya. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  21. ^ Shereen Sakr, Laila (December 19, 2011). "The Materiality of Virtuality: Internet Reporting on Arab Revolutions". Jadaliyya. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  22. ^ Miriyam Aouragh; Shahid Buttar; Elijah Meeks; Laila Shereen Sakr (August 9, 2011). "Collateral Damage: #Oslo Attacks and Proliferating Islamophobia". Jadaliyya. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  23. ^ Shereen Sakr, Laila. "The R-Shief Initiative: Proof of Concept". Parsons Journal for Information Mapping. I (2). Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  24. ^ Shereen Sakr, Laila (2004). ""On Becoming Arab," "Give," "Human Skin"". Mizna. 6 (1). Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  25. ^ Shereen Sakr, Laila (February 21, 2011). "Media-Making Madness: #Arab Revolutions from the Perspective of Egyptian-American". The Official Weblog of Henry Jenkins.
  26. ^ Shereen Sakr, Laila1 (September 2015). "From Archive to Analytics: Building Counter-Collections of Arabic Social Media". Archival Dissonance: Contemporary Visual Culture and Knowledge Production. I.B. Tauris/Ibraaz.
  27. ^ Shereen Sakr, Laila; Katz, Kimberly (2016). "On Developing a Teaching Module on Arab Social Media". Cinema Journal Teaching Dossier: The Integration of Production and Theory/History in Cinema and Media Studies Courses.
  28. ^ Shereen Sakr, Laila; Juhasz, Alex (2017). Losh, Liz; Wernimont, Jacqueline (eds.). "Ev-Ent-Anglement: Reflexively Extending Engagement By Way of Technology". Bodies of Information: Feminist Debates in Digital Humanities.
  29. ^ Shereen Sakr, Laila (February 5, 2011). "Security or Uncertainty: Stabilizing R-Shief Twitter Analysis during the Jasmine & Egyptian Revolutions". ThoughtMesh: Critical Code Journal.
  30. ^ Shereen Sakr, Laila (May 2015). "The Virtual Body Politic: A Networked Political Mobilization of Information Patterns and Materiality". Networking Knowledge: Journal of the Media, Communication, and Cultural Studies Association. 8 (2).
  31. ^ Shereen Sakr, Laila (2019). "Techies on the Ground: Revisiting Egypt 2011". Cyber Orient Online Journal of the Virtual Middle East and Islamic World. 13 (1): 43–61.
  32. ^ Michelsen, Leslee (March 9, 2020). "In Cairo, Artists Use Pixels, Cyborgs, and More to Examine Technology and Belief". Hyperallergic.
  33. ^ Khallaf, Rania (February 25, 2020). "The Sound of a Glitch". Al-Ahram Online.
  34. ^ Editors (February 13, 2020). "AUC's TCC Hosts Three Exhibitions on Art and Technology". Albawaba: Your Gateway to the Middle East.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  35. ^ Losh, Elizabeth (February 1, 2019). ""#Intersection" Hashtag". Bloomsbury Academic.
  36. ^ Malatesta, Irene (May 28, 2018). "Data Bodies and Tech Activism with VJ Um Amel". Medium.
  37. ^ Editors (March 31, 2018). "Understanding Social Movements through Social Media's Big Data". CCAS Newsmagazine.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  38. ^ Logan, Jim (July 27, 2017). "A billion tweets turned into virtual reality". University of California News.
  39. ^ Iskander, Adel (May 1, 2017). "What's Trending in Social Media on the Middle East?". Status Audio-Journal. 2–4.
  40. ^ Willis, Holly (May 2, 2016). "Fast Forward: The Future(s) of the Cinematic Arts". Columbia University Press.
  41. ^ Lindsey, Ursula (May 9, 2015). "Scholars Re-Examine Arab World's 'Facebook Revolutions'". Chronicle of Higher Education.
  42. ^ Iskander, Adel (October 30, 2014). "R-Shief's 5th Anniversary". Status Audio-Journal. 1 (1).
  43. ^ Good, Andrew (August 29, 2014). "The Middle East finds its voice on social media". USC News.
  44. ^ Editors (February 4, 2014). "New Texts Out Now: VJ Um Amel, A Digital Humanities Approach: Text, the Internet, and the Egyptian Uprising". Jadaliyya.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  45. ^ Stuhr-Rommereim, Helen (December 29, 2011). "A year in review: When history becomes art". Egypt Independent. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  46. ^ Ungerleider, Neal (December 12, 2011). ""The People's Skype" and Occupy Wall Street Hackathons". Fast Company. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  47. ^ Gottemoeller, Rose. "Remarks: From the Manhattan Project to my Butt: Arms Control in the Information Age". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  48. ^ Miller, Greg (September 30, 2011). "Social Scientists Wade into the Tweet Stream". Science. 333 (6051): 1814–1815. doi:10.1126/science.333.6051.1814. PMID 21960603.
  49. ^ Attalah, Lina (June 27, 2011). "VJ Um Amel hits 'the social' in media". Egypt Independent. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  50. ^ Losh, Liz (June 23, 2011). "Digital Learning and the Arab Spring". DML Central. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  51. ^ Chlala, Youmna (June 22, 2011). "Interview with VJ Um Amel". ArtTerritories. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  52. ^ Friedman, Jon (May 18, 2011). "Twitter's Window on Middle East Uprisings". MarketWatch. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  53. ^ Schenkar, Dylan (March 1, 2011). "VJ Um Amel Remixes A Revolution". The Creators Project (blog). Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  54. ^ Losh, Liz (February 25, 2011). "Not Your Mother's VJ". Virtualpolitk (blog). Retrieved October 27, 2014.