Algorithmic Culture and its Impact on a Post-Uprisings Middle East

A lecture by Laila Shereen Sakr (UCSB)

Whether studying, designing or using algorithms, researchers need to understand how their questions intersect with the logics of automation and scale underpinning networked, computational platforms. In this paper, I will take a hybrid approach to analyzing various procedural algorithms, their relationship with their structured data (for example, tweets), and their impact on an Arabic-speaking virtual body politic. This investigation theorizes mediations of Middle Eastern activism, revolution, and migration. It begins by working through the challenges in producing knowledge that is analytically rigorous, durable, and is independent from various power centers and policy circles, securitized and militarized — and then exploring the emergence of new modes of knowledge production in in an era of virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and large-scale violence.



Laila Shereen Sakr is a digital media theorist and artist working in computational art, live cinema, data visualization, and media activism. She is Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies at UC Santa Barbara. Her work uses media analytics, visualization, and immersive storytelling techniques to map how participation in virtual worlds and networked publics have influenced the formation of a virtual body politic. This research led her to design the R-Shief media system for archiving and analyzing content from social networking sites, and the cyborg representation of VJ Um Amel. Shereen Sakr has shown in solo and group exhibitions and performances at galleries and museums across the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East, and has published extensively.

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Duration: (45:41)

Published: Tuesday, March 07, 2017