Laila Shereen Sakr, (aka) VJ Um Amel dives deep into her Egyptian-Arabic background utilizing computer analytic visualization in order to uncover the root of media convergence. Utilizing R-Shief and Twitter as her own personal playground for her research, she questions how and why certain words are grouped together within a certain number of characters or hashtags or why we’ve encountered a culture media that move across multiple platforms. She has become a media artist within an age of digital activism that utilizes both data bodies and cyborgs on feminist technology construct, exploring specifically the impact that social media has had on Egypt and the middle east.
In her manifesto, VJ Um Amel claims that the contemporary world is moderated and defined by the media. That our current culture is mediated by different levels of communication and expression. Her work uses hash tagged Twitter conversations, collected by Twitter analytics sites, R-Shief as raw material and Youtube videos. In class I have heard Laila reference R-Shief but never really knew what it was or simply what it meant. During my research I came across a TED talk from 2011 that really resonated in the way I think Laila always strives to creates an “open space” as she always says to connect with her audience in a way then delves deeper than just observer and lecturer separated but instead using twitter to bridge the gap between the two. I think her collaboration to create Wireframe embodies her body of works so perfectly because it’s all about creating a space to immerse the type of visualization you’re hoping to manifest. She describes her work as data mining twitter in order to gather 800,000 tweets into a semantic analysis during the revelation in Egypt. Media convergence has affected a lot of this change, trans medial, hyper medial, migrating through media platforms. The people that are creating change and the technology that is convergence. The only way you will understand culture is if you aggregate the community because there is an ethic underneath it. Pre-processing sorting through the date before a level of interface, (structure level of building an interactive platform) The world is designed along information something like cultural analytics, language to analyze and analytics to process, social significances of the data. Even though embedded deep within and analytic and semiotic process the most powerful practice VJ UM Amel swares by is the power of art. That through the visualization and process of creative design one can uncover a deeper meaning or a more connected relationship to nature. In way that she uses Hayles quote in order attest to her beliefs, that using layered images and stimulating documents to see the world is the closest way in correctly portraying the real world, or life as we live it.
As we move into a week focusing on cyborgs I think its really pivotal to point out a quote within her manifesto, “it is not just the construction of matter, but a matter of construction to human beings.” I perceive that as it is not just the process of creating but who and what we are creating for. The unity, the binding of at last of both creation and human interaction at play.