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Stephanie Dinkins photographed by Jay Adams.

Stephanie Dinkins

American, born 1964

Stephanie Dinkins’s (she/her/hers) art practice employs emerging technologies, documentary practices, and social collaboration to build equity and community sovereignty.  She is particularly driven to work with communities of color to co-create more equitable social and technological ecosystems. Dinkins is a Kusama Professor of Art at Stony Brook University, where she founded the Future Histories Studio.

See more of Dinkins's work at her website: stephaniedinkins.com.

Do you know racism?

Stephanie Dinkins to Bina48

Installation view of Difference Machines: Technology and Identity in Contemporary Art (Albright-Knox Northland, October 16, 2021–January 16, 2022). Art © Stephanie Dinkins. Photo: Brenda Bieger for Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York.

Installation view of Difference Machines: Technology and Identity in Contemporary Art (Albright-Knox Northland, October 16, 2021–January 16, 2022). Art © Stephanie Dinkins. Photo: Amanda Smith for Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York. 

Installation view of Difference Machines: Technology and Identity in Contemporary Art (Albright-Knox Northland, October 16, 2021–January 16, 2022). Art © Stephanie Dinkins. Photo: Amanda Smith for Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York. 

Installation view of Difference Machines: Technology and Identity in Contemporary Art (Albright-Knox Northland, October 16, 2021–January 16, 2022). Art © Stephanie Dinkins. Photo: Tina Rivers Ryan for Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York. 

Installation view of Difference Machines: Technology and Identity in Contemporary Art (Albright-Knox Northland, October 16, 2021–January 16, 2022). Art © Stephanie Dinkins (left), Saya Woolfalk (right). Photo: Tina Rivers Ryan for Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York. 

Installation view of Difference Machines: Technology and Identity in Contemporary Art (Albright-Knox Northland, October 16, 2021–January 16, 2022). Art © Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (left), Morehshin Allahyari (center), Stephanie Dinkins (right). Photo: Tina Rivers Ryan for Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York.

Conversations with Bina48: 7, 6, 5, 2, 2014–present (ongoing)

Four digital videos (color, sound) displayed on monitors
Running time: 4 minutes, looped
Courtesy of the artist and TRANSFER

Conversations with Bina48 is a really special piece for me, because it marks the place in my practice where I made the turn to working with artificial intelligence, and thinking about its impact on the future of the communities that I’m concerned with, and really on the global community.”
—Stephanie Dinkins

In these four videos, we see the artist Stephanie Dinkins (she/her/hers) conversing with a humanoid cyborg called Bina48 (Breakthrough Intelligence via Neural Architecture, 48 exaFLOPS per second). Bina48’s face is modeled after Bina Rothblatt, a co-founder of the Terasem Movement Foundation, which promotes the transhumanist idea that we will one day upload our minds into robots or clones. When asked questions, Bina48 uses voice recognition and artificial intelligence to generate answers based on the real Bina’s recorded ideas and memories.

Dinkins positions herself in these videos as a kind of mirror of Bina48: she wears similar clothing, mimics her movements, and speaks to her face-to-face, as if looking at her reflection. This doubling may prompt us to think about what it means to be human at the dawn of AI, especially for marginalized people who have been considered subhuman. By asking Bina48 about topics like racism and civil rights, Dinkins points out that our technologies may help us transcend our bodies but not our prejudices. For example, digital assistants that are programmed to sound like educated white women, such as Siri and Alexa, reinforce the idea that these women are nonthreatening and submissive. In contrast, Bina48 is a futuristic technology modeled after a Black woman, much like the “Oracle” character in the Matrix films. Whether and how Bina48 could ever become fully “human” is up to the viewer to decide.

  • Transcript of Dinkins

    Conversations with Bina48: 7, 6, 5, 2 Transcript

    Transcript of Dinkins installation for Difference MachinesConversations with Bina48: 7, 6, 5, 2, 2014–present (ongoing).

    View Here (PDF)
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Bina48 on Racism, 2014

Almost everything we touch is touched by artificial intelligence.

Stephanie Dinkins, "Conversations with a Robot"

Conversations with a Robot—#PublicInterestTech

Video produced by the Ford Foundation on Dinkins's work about the way artists are using emerging forms of media and technology to drive narratives that reframe how we see the world.

Just being alive is kind of a lonely thing.

Bina48, in "The Case for Giving Robots an Identity"

The Case for Giving Robots an Identity

by Arielle Pardes

The first time Stephanie Dinkins met Bina48, in 2014, she worried the thing was dead...

Read the full article here.

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