The Enemy

A virtual reality experience that humanizes “the other” in the face of war


“The Enemy is a project that breaks away from the kinds of images of war the media typically show us. By hearing the voices of those who carry this violence within them, by allowing them to introduce themselves and to share their motives and dreams, the project brings us face to face with these fighters and their points of view, humanizing them in the process.”

Karim Ben Khelifa, Project Co-Lead, 2015-17 Visiting Artist at the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology, and 2013-15 Open Documentary Lab Fellow, MIT

 

 


 

The Enemy is a groundbreaking interactive virtual reality exhibition and immersive experience that made its North American premiere at the MIT Museum in 2017. Through 360-degree imaging and recordings, participants encounter combatants on opposite sides of conflicts in Israel/Palestine, the Congo, and El Salvador. Each fighter offers a personal perspective on war, including reflections on motivation, suffering, freedom, and the future.

War photojournalist Karim Ben Khelifa first conceived the piece as a photo exhibit, but decided to transform it into virtual reality during his fellowship at the MIT Open Documentary Lab in 2013–15. He further developed the project as a visiting artist in the MIT Imagination, Computation, and Expression Laboratory with a grant from the Center for Art, Science & Technology from 2015–17, working with MIT Professor D. Fox Harrell (human-computer interaction producer on The Enemy).

Project leads:
Karim Ben Khelifa, Project Co-Lead, 2015-17 Visiting Artist at the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology, and 2013-15 MIT OpenDocLab Fellow
D. Fox Harrell, Project Co-Lead, Professor of Digital Media and Artificial Intelligence, Comparative Media Studies/Writing (CMS/W) and Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), MIT; Director, Center for Advanced Virtuality, MIT

Launched: October 2017

On view: Access the project via an Augmented Reality App, and find the latest news and installation details on The Enemy website

 


More information

About Karim Ben Khelifa

MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology

Exhibition at the MIT Museum

The New York Times: Meeting the ‘Other’ Face to Face

Photos on Flickr: The Enemy Beta-tests at MIT

WBUR: Viewers Explore Conflict in Virtual Reality at MIT