Karim Ben Khelifa

Humanizing the enemy


Award-winning photojournalist, Karim Ben Khelifa, is widely known for his coverage of the Middle East conflicts, especially the Iraq and Afghan wars, where he covered the insurgent sides. While a Fellow at the MIT Open Documentary Lab, Ben Khelifa designed and prototyped his latest project The Enemy. This immersive installation uses VR to bring the audience into conversations between soldiers from opposite sides of longstanding global conflicts. As a CAST Visiting Artist, Ben Khelifa collaborates with Fox Harrell of the Imagination, Computation and Expression (ICE) Laboratory to integrate concepts from cognitive science and Artificial Intelligence-based interaction models into the project to engender empathy. Read more.

Past Events

“Virtually There: Documentary Meets Virtual Reality”
Open Documentary Lab Conference and Exhibition
May 6 to 7, 2016

Conversation with Visiting Artist Karim Ben Khelifa and Associate Professor Fox Harrell
Co-sponsored by Art Scholars and Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship
Wednesday, February 24, 2016 / 5:00-6:30 pm
Tang Center E51-335
2 Amherst Street, Cambridge, MA

MIT Open Documentary Lab
“The Enemy” Presentation and Discussion
Tuesday, November 3, 2015 / 2:30-4:00 pm
Wiesner Room, E15-207
20 Ames Street, Cambridge, MA


Prototype Demonstration and Research
September 26-October 7, 2016

MIT Open Documentary Lab
Tuesday, November 3, 2015 / 2:30-4:00 pm

Special Presentation of “The Enemy”
Monday, November 9, 2015 / 2-7:00 pm

Class Visits
November 4 & 11, 2015
Comparative Media Studies, .950 Workshop I

In the Media

The Jerusalem Post: Defining the Enemy

PBS: Tribeca Storyscapes 2015: Experimenting with Immersive Documentaries in that Awkward Headgear Phase

IGN: Meeting the Enemy and Dancing In the Dark At the Tribeca Flim Festival

BBC: Tribeca Film Festival: Exploring Conflict Through Film

New York Times: Going Interactive at Tribeca With Storyscapes

Photo District News: British Journal of Photography

Nieman Reports: Face to Face with the Enemy: Photos from the World’s Wars

Foreign Policy: My Enemy, Myself


Fox Harrell, Associate Professor of Digital Media in the Comparative Media Studies (CMS) Program and Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and Director of the Imagination, Computation and Expression Laboratory

Imagination, Computation and Expression Laboratory (ICE Lab)

MIT Open Documentary Lab


OpenDoc Lab: 2014-2015 Fellows

Comparative Media Studies: Karim Ben Khelifa