DATA BODIES: AUGMENT THE REVOLUTION
About the Game
Data Bodies: Augment the Revolution is a narrative adventure game set in the 23rd century, when the physical and virtual are one reality called The Layer. You play as Sherene, a cyborgian historian, who, aided by the glitch powers of her charming AI companion Bota, must find the lost fragments of a history of revolutions that have long been suppressed by the oppressive, purely digital ruling class known as the A-Life.
Who We Are
We are a team of academic researchers based in California, U.S.A.
Director/Principal Investigator: Dr. Laila Shereen Sakr (she/her)
Laila Shereen Sakr is engaged in an ongoing posthuman performance of VJ Um Sherene. She writes, develops software, and produces multimodal art to theorize technology, language, and the body. Sakr is Assistant Professor of Media Theory & Practice at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she co-founded the digital media studio Wireframe. Her book, Arabic Glitch: Technoculture, Data Bodies, and Archives, is forthcoming in 2023 from Stanford University Press. 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. Over the last two decades, she has been a leading voice in the open-source movement, in particular 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.
Websites: vjumamel.com, vj.live, r-shief.org
Director/Principal Investigator: Dr. Susana Ruiz (she/they)
Susana Ruiz's scholarly and creative work is concerned with how the intersection of art, play, storytelling, speculative design, and technology can enable useful approaches for public pedagogy and justice. She holds an MFA from the Interactive Media and Games program at the University of Southern California (USC) and a Ph.D. from USC's Media Arts + Practice program. She is a founding partner of Take Action Games (TAG), an artists' studio based in Santa Cruz and Los Angeles (California) that creates linkages between games and the histories and practices of documentary film, performance art, and participatory culture. TAG has garnered numerous awards, including the Games for Change Audience Award, the Adobe MAX Award for Social Responsibility, Honoree status in the Webby Award's Activism Category, and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' Governors Award (the Emmy's highest honor) in collaboration with MTV Networks. TAG’s work has reviewed and cited in numerous academic articles and books, and has been covered by press outlets such as National Public Radio, the New York Times, BBC News, ABC World News, the Washington Post, Jezebel, and Mashable. Ruiz is also a curator whose work aligns with an urgent need within the gaming world to increase opportunities for diverse creators to exhibit their work, to celebrate underrepresented identities and stories, and to help audiences discover work that challenges and inspires them to think of games and play in less exclusive ways. Ruiz regularly serves as juror for festival and conferences, and most recently served as the Lead Faculty Judge and Head of Academic Screening Committee for the 2023 George Foster Peabody Awards in the new category of Interactive and Immersive Media, and as member the Jury Committee for the 2021 IndieCade International Festival of Independent Games. She served as Advisory Board Member of Games For Change, a non-profit organization dedicated to the creation and distribution of social impact games that serve as critical tools in humanitarian and educational contexts. Ruiz is an Assistant Professor at UCSC, where she teaches in the Film and Digital Media Department, the Digital Arts and New Media Program, the Social Documentation Program, and mentors undergraduates, MFA, and Ph.D. students.
Producer: Josh Bevan (he/him)
Josh Bevan is a film writer/director and polyglot programmer maintaining a hybrid practice in film, short stories, and new media art. His creative work is predisposed to eerie techno worldbuilding and alienated future histories, ala Orion's Arm and Cyclonopedia, and is often concerned with the profoundly alien persona of machine intelligence, the metaphysical upsets of virtuality, the human thirst for self-destruction, and the mythologies of intelligence explosions and deep futures. Studying at the Media Arts and Technology program at UCSB, Josh learned to reason technically about cutting edge Machine Learning networks, which informed his latest film works that, inspired by GAN latent cyberdelia, dive into the pseudo-mystical, psychoactive provocations of machine hallucinations. He grew up as an avid gamer in the 2000s and 2010s, has an encyclopedic memory of narrative and simulation games, and works on fragment shaders in his spare time.
Dr. Magy Seif El-Nasr - Professor of Computational Media (UCSC)
Dr. Seif El-Nasr is a Professor at the Khoury College of Computer Sciences and College of Arts, Media and Design at Northeastern University, Boston. She earned her Ph.D. degree from Northwestern University in Computer Science and her master's degree in Computer Science from Texas A&M University. Dr. Seif El-Nasr received several grants totalling over $3 Million to support her research. She published over 100 international peer reviewed articles on her work. In addition, her work received several awards and recognition within multiple communities, including: Artificial Intelligence, Agents, Interactive Narrative, and Game communities. These include four best paper awards, a leadership excellence award, and research excellence award. She has ongoing industry collaborations, including Electronic Arts, leading game company, IgnitePlay, a social media and health independent company.
Dr. Ahmad Saqfalhait - Associate Professor of Practice and Associate Chair (Department of Art, AUC Egypt)
Ahmad Saqfalhait has regional experience in design and design education. In 2010, he obtained his Master's of Fine Arts (MFA) in graphic design from Tama Art University in Tokyo, Japan, and worked in Jordan, the Gulf region, and in Egypt. During his five years of work at the German University in Cairo, he developed its graphic design program with his colleagues by focusing on the social role of design, both locally and regionally. In the past few years, he has been collaborating with key people from the local and regional game development scene, which made it possible for him to launch the new multidisciplinary game design minor at The American University in Cairo (AUC), aiming to connect academia to the local and regional gaming industry, to create social impact through local games, developed by local talents.