Date: March 9, 2008

Category: Moving Image

Tags: animation cyber feminist glitch Middle East rotoscope video

This series of animated shorts that tell the story of three cyborgs: VJ Um Amel, an Arabic and English speaking, female cyborg—Shashi, an androgynous, male cyborg with sonic powers—and VJ Um Amel’s seductive sidekick, Femme Bot. In the video series, the trio will move in and out of various media—film, web-based media, animation, etc. The first episode of the series, ‘The Cyber Conscious Trio,’ is a 3 minute short that contrasts the politics of the aesthetics between Waltz with Bashir and Persepolis, two feature animated films about the Middle East. In the VJ Um Amel Series, the animated trio will navigate through these various landscapes by crossing between the cinematic worlds of these two films, and locating themselves and their world amidst it all. Our unique combination—using rotoscope animation, for example, mixed with animated drawings of Middle Eastern cyber landscapes, modulated video remixes, and data visualizations—offers an innovative critique on gender, transnationalism, and digital aesthetics. VJ Um Amel’s cyber world shows that issues of domination can be much more complicated than a typical binary vision of the Middle East might suggest.