Omar Kholeif
Works in London United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Omar Kholeif (EGYPT/UK) is a curator, writer, editor and sometime producer. A specialist in contemporary artist film, video and emerging technology, his work also boasts a focus on contemporary cultural practice within the broader intersections of North Africa and the Middle East. His writing appears in The Guardian, Art Monthly, Wired, Film International, Frieze and Artforum International, as well as in numerous catalogue and book contributions. Omar holds degrees from the University of Glasgow, Screen Academy Scotland, The Royal College of Art, London, and a PhD candidate at the University of Reading.

Omar was Curator at FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), Liverpool, the UK’s leading centre for the support, commission and exhibition of artist film, video and new media. Since 2010, Kholeif has also been a Curator at Cornerhouse, Manchester’s international art and film organisation and HOME Manchester, as well as Artistic Director at the Arab British Centre, London.

He is founding Director of the UK’s Arab Film Festival. Formerly, he was a co-curator for Abandon Normal Devices and the Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art, where he was a co-curator for the 2012 edition.

Kholeif is Senior Editor of Ibraaz, the leading critical forum for visual culture in North Africa and the Middle East. He was also a co-founding editor of Portal 9: Stories and Critical Writing About the City — a Beirut-based semi-annual focusing on urbanism and architecture.

Kholeif has curated projects and events, which have occurred at the The International Film Festival Rotterdam; ICA, London; Tate Modern, London; ‘Beirut’ in Cairo; Rhizome at the New Museum, New York; Arnolfini, Bristol and Art Dubai, to name but a few. He has also lectured internationally in the likes of Munich, Boston, London, Cairo, Alexandria, Sharjah, New York, and Los Angeles.

From December 2012 – January 2014, Kholeif headed up Art & Technology at SPACE, where he was curator and director of The White Building, London’s centre for art and technology.

In December 2013, Kholeif was appointed as Curator at The Whitechapel Gallery, London.

Omar is a Churchill Fellow, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a juror for the 2013 Film London Jarman Award and a member of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA).

Omar Kholeif’s books include, Vision, Memory and Media (Liverpool University Press 2010), Far and Wide: Nam June Paik (Leonardo 2013) and You Are Here: Art after the Internet (Cornerhouse Books, 2014).

He can be reached through his site
Discussions (5) Opportunities (4) Events (7) Jobs (0)

Exhibition: The White Bear Effect by Cornford & Cross

Sat Sep 07, 2013 12:00 - Sat Sep 14, 2013

A large state-of-the-art LED screen, familiar from major sporting and corporate venues, is placed in an otherwise empty gallery overlooking the 2012 Olympic stadium. Up close, the screen appears as a technological grid of pulsing, coloured lights; from further away the separate points of light merge to become recognizable as an image. Between the image and the screen is a zone that corresponds to the liminal space in art between abstraction and figuration, and in science between perception and cognition.

Examining the spectacle and hyperbole that accumulates around sport, The White Bear Effect presents a highlights reel of golden sporting moments – game-changing, record-breaking achievements now preserved in a kind of limbo, to be endlessly replayed in video’s ghostly hall-of-fame.

One of the functions of a screen is to obscure what lies behind it. Yet in this installation the screen presents a shifting interplay between the illusory and the actual. Moving freely around the screen, the viewer can take a range of subject positions, including spectator, observer, and performer.

Named after ‘the white bear effect’, in which the attempt to eliminate negative images in favour of positive ones paradoxically causes those unwanted associations to return, the piece illuminates how the thrill of sport, like the feeling of being ‘in the zone’, is fleeting. Existing almost wholly in the moment, despite our best efforts to capture or distil it, it remains elusive and impermanent.

The White Bear Effect was commissioned and curated as part of ‘Everything Flows’ by Film and Video Umbrella and De La Warr Pavilion. Supported by The Wellcome Trust and Arts Council England.

The exhibition is staged with additional support from The White Building, University of the Arts London and University of Brighton.

Screen provided by LED Screen Hire Events UK Ltd.


Attractive Male Slides: Aversion Therapy and Queer Science Fiction

Wed Sep 04, 2013 19:00 - Wed Sep 04, 2013

Attractive Male Slides
4th September 2013
Event Space, The White Building, 7 PM

Max 2 Tickets per booking

Sam Ashby will discuss his research towards a new film project, developed as part of the We Are Here residency programme. This illustrated presentation will form an incomplete history of aversion therapy and, along with curator and writer Omar Kholeif, Ashby will examine it’s connection to science fiction.

Image Credit: Courtesy of Sam Ashby.


Shu Lea Cheang: Art, Queer Technologies and Social Interference

Mon Sep 02, 2013 19:00 - Mon Sep 02, 2013

Shu Lea Cheang (USA/France) is one of the legendary artists of our time. As an artist, conceptualist, filmmaker, and networker, Cheang constructs installations and multi-player performances in a participatory and impromptu mode. She drafts sci-fi narratives in her film scenarios and artworks, building social interfaces and open networks that permit public participation. Engaged in media activism for two decades (the 80s and 90s) in New York City, Cheang concluded her NYC period with the first Guggenheim museum web art commission/collection BRANDON (1998-1999).

Cheang has expanded her cross-genre-gender borderhack performative works since relocating to the Eurozone in 2000.

To coincide with a new exhibition being held by the artist at Furtherfield in London, The White Building hosts a special talk by Shu Lea Cheang who will be in conversation with curator and writer, Omar Kholeif.

Image Credit: Courtesy of Shu Lea Cheang.



Collaborative Residency with The White Building, London & Eyebeam, New York

Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:00

The SPACE-run art centre, The White Building in London is teaming up with Eyebeam in New York for a collaborative residency. The call is focusing on 5 provocative focus inquiries around art and technology, listed below.

1.What is the role of authenticity in the current creative situation? Digital technologies are built to reproduce themselves in perfect copies — this is antithetical to notions of single authorship. What is authentic; can there be a single author anymore?

2. What is the place of discussion around aesthetic beauty and form in contemporary technological art? Particularly, how do the formal aspects of work on the internet affect how we ‘appreciate’ and understand art? How are platforms such S[edition] and re-configuring what is digital and physical practice? Moreover, what do we say to skeptics who argue that native art produced on the internet, does not boast the same social, aesthetic, or political value as traditional forms?

3. What is the relationship of queerness to the internet? Are there implied queer trajectories in what the internet enables?

4. How is storytelling evolving across cinema and ebooks, digital novels, hyperlinked narratives etc? Or is it evolving?

5. What does it mean to collaborate across geographies? What does it mean to be close to people?

It’s been a pleasure planning this joint residency and we’re thrilled to see the response! For full information.

Full application details are available here:


Open Studio Exhibition and GLTI.CH KARAOKE

Sat Aug 17, 2013 12:00 - Sun Aug 18, 2013

London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland


Saturday 17th August, 12 – 6 pm

Sunday 18th August, 12 – 6 pm

Join Sam Ashby, Jesse Darling, Fabienne Hess and Jon Rafman for a special two-day open studio exhibition. This is an opportunity to see new work in the process of its development. Works will range from a new science fiction short film filmed in Second Life, an unfathomable gelatin sculpture, a bespoke publishing project and a new slide-projection, and more.

The event will be followed on Sunday by a special technologically-infused group Karaoke evening that is not be missed!!!

More info on our website under the What's On Section.

Image credit: Fabienne Hess.