Networked_Performance

“R-Shief” by VJ Um Amel

R-Shief is a digital platform that provides real-time analysis of opinion in the Arab world about late-breaking issues. By using aggregate data from Twitter and the Web, R-Shief can dissect how people in Egypt are reacting to, say, the latest changes to the constitutional process, or how Libyans perceive the presence of NATO forces and Bahrainis perceive the presence of Saudi military, or how the pro-regime supporters in Syria are acting out on social media platforms. We are achieving this through the results of our Pan-Arab Internet aggregator as well as Twitter data mining tools, and by publishing data visualizations based on findings.

The data visualizations emerged from our objective to include the input of a “community-author” in knowledge production. Our interactive visualizations are a form of extending expert, popular, and imaginative voices. Configuring ideas and activating virtual landscapes — aggregating, visualizing, reviewing, and building community — R-Shief is a new way to mobilize a multilingual practice.

To become a hub for research and analysis on these issues and to put people in different parts of the world together so they can collaborate, R-Shief is developing a program on joint research initiatives and workshops. In this lab environment, we are committed to fostering innovative research on transnational Arab history and culture. The lab provides activists, scholars, journalists, professionals, and artists with tools and methodologies for comprehending the Arab world through a context of procedural literacy—the interplay between human and technically-mediated processes. While there are a growing number of critical solutions to “open” knowledge, such as UShahidi.com, the need remains to make meaning of these systematic changes affecting all fields, and the technological devices enabling them. We believe that procedural literacy provides a key to 21st century democratic practices.

R-Shief is conceived and designed fully by media artist and critic, Laila Shereen Sakr, who also publishes under the name of “VJ Um Amel.” A series of sentiment and semantic analyses are being produced with the support and collaboration of USC’s Annenberg Innovation Lab. The site is currently supported with in-kind cloud hosting and development services by technology company, Open Source Solutions, LLC.

As of May 2011, R-Shief is being hosted on a network of computers that enables R-Shief to data mine Twitter and hundreds of sites that have content on the Arab Spring. Our website has been designed for scalability. During the early months of 2011, when tweets on one hash tag were coming in at a rate of 500,000/day, R-Shief managed not only to pull, but also to store, parse, and display all of that data, a process that challenged R-Shief’s resources. The expansion of R-Shief will enhance the project’s ability to aggregate and store data, and will enable users to utilize the data provided for research, art, and academic collaborations more effectively. More here.


Jun 10, 18:29
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