A person who appears to be ambling aimlessly, but is secretly in search of adventure.


TONIGHT! Check out VJ Um Amel @ the Fridge!

VJ Um Amel is a poet, activist and digital artist critically examining the nature of digital information and cyber existence in a post-9/11 world. On Thursday, February 25, Um Amel will present Call 2 Presence, an interactive live cinema performance at The Fridge DC art gallery.

In her 30-minute performance, VJ Um Amel (Arabic for ‘Mother of Hope’), an animated cyborg who is also a mother, invites the audience to collectively choose how the story will proceed.

This is how it works: two projections will go on simultaneously. The main projection will show the cinematic story of Egyptian-American VJ Um Amel, along with her robot companions, Femme Bot and Shashi, as they move in and out of media from 1950s Egyptian cinema to present day video games, full-length films, and the Internet in search of Um Amel’s child. Um Amel is a feminist cyborg who shape-shifts from animation to avatar, VJ to mother, from machine to human. Within the film, VJ Um Amel explores her mother’s past as an opera singer and film star in 1950’s Cairo. In this world, she finds love, life, romance, and how to move her hips without glitches.

In its essence, the first projected video asks what hope looks like in the 21st century. Yet as the story progresses, the audience will get to determine how the story ends. They will text their choices by phone, or simply sit back and watch the plot unfold.

On the second projection, there will be a continuous visual display of images as controlled by the audience. The audience will text any key words that describe their reactions and emotions to the performance to a provided phone number. Their texts will automatically generate images from Flickr based on the key words.

Call 2 Presence is an exciting opportunity to utilize crowd participation technologies focused on educating people through art. In Um Amel’s opinion, “a shared procedural literacy among collaborators in digital and new media productions might provide a key to 21st century democratic practices.”

In other words, only the collective can provide the answers to the artist’s posed questions. In a true 21st century democracy, the crowd tells the story together.

Come help VJ Um Amel tell the story on Thursday, February 25 at The Fridge DC art gallery. Doors open at 7:30pm and the live cinema begins at 8pm (30 minutes and then Q&A). After Party from 9pm-11pm to follow. Tickets ($10) are available online.

Check out Call 2 Presence for more information.


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