Arab Data Bodies: Social Media in Mixed Reality


ACLS Digital Extension Grants


Film and Media Studies


"Arab Data Bodies" is a 360-degree, first-person immersive, virtual and augmented (VR/AR) experience of the Egyptian Uprising of 2011. This data-driven project builds upon nearly one hundred million social media posts in thirty languages (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and other popular sites) harvested by the R-Shief media system. Through collaboration across two campuses at the University of California (UCSB and UCSC), the project extends the representation of R-Shief’s historical, eleven-year-old archive of social media from two-dimensional data visualizations and adapts it into an immersive experience reenacting Tahrir Square in 2011—downtown Cairo’s main public circle that became a focal point during the uprisings. "Arab Data Bodies" is a mixed reality (MX) world of historical data and public spaces, rich in cinematic non-fiction storytelling and visuality.