Earlier this year the world watched as the Arab Spring tore through the Middle East in a wave of uprisings fueled and bolstered by social media, leaving in its wake a region struggling to determine its political future, and a rash of yapping “social media experts” eager to understand what it all meant. But sometimes, rather than analyzing each tweet and YouTube clip, the greatest and most profound insights can be gleaned not from crunching numbers or sifting through the data, but from something that’s a little more ambiguous and open to interpretation.
A few months ago we saw VJ Um Amel dive into the raw virtual material of the revolution with her sereis of remixes and data visualizations. The media artist turned the footage and hashtagged conversations posted to social media sites during the Egyptian and Tunisian uprisings into experimental videos that explored the dynamics of these platforms.
Opting for a more subjective approach, filmmaker Marxº offers up his own artistic interpretation of these same events with the short film The Arab Spring, turning the protests and turmoil that shook the region into motion graphics and semi-abstract animation. His goal was to take the Islamic symbolism appropriated by the media and use it to reflect on how, as foreigners, we were forced to consume the events refracted through the Western media-glass.