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VJ Um Amel
University of California, Santa Barbara
Associate Professor
Primary Phone: (202) 462-6242
2020 Social Sciences & Media Studies
Santa Barbara CA 93106-4010
United States
Laila Shereen Sakr is engaged in the ongoing posthuman performance of her avatar, VJ Um Amel. She writes, develops software, and produces multimodal art to theorize technology, language, and the body. Author of Arabic Glitch: Technoculture, Data Bodies, and Archives (Stanford University Press, 2023), Sakr is Associate Professor of Media Theory & Practice at the University of California, Santa Barbara. At UCSB, she co-founded Wireframe, a studio promoting collaborative theoretical and creative media practice with investments in global social and environmental justice. She is Faculty Affiliate in the Department of Feminist Studies, Department of Media Arts and Technology, Center for Responsible Machine Learning, Center for Middle East Studies, and the Center for Information Technology and Society. 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, particularly 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.
Media Arts
Sub Areas
Information Technology/Computing
Computational And Visual Arts, Film And Media Studies, Digital Arts And Humanities, Data Visualization And Analytics
Arabic (native)
French (intermediate)
PhD | 2015 | Media Arts + Practice | University of Southern California
MFA | 2009 | Digital Arts and New Media | UC Santa Cruz
MA | 1998 | Arab Studies | Georgetown University
The Digital Revolution: Arab Media in Digital Form The Digital Humanities Meets Modern Egypt: Between Technology and Revolution Media Praxis: A Hybrid Approach to Studying the Arabic Open Source Movement Media Sousveillance on its Back Surveillance AI, Occupation, and Glitch Resistance in Palestine