[Dec 8 – 10] Who Are Your People? An installation by Stephanie Dinkins

Who Are Your People? ”  is an installation exploring human robot relations and their implications.   This work speculates about the ways humans and robots will co-exist as friends, servants, co-workers, arbiters,  lovers, and so on,  in the not so distant future.

Meet the Artist:  Friday December 8, 2017 @ 7 pm 

Exhibition open to the public Saturday and Sunday Dec. 9 and 10th from 4 – 7 pm


596 Broadway Suite 602 New York NY 10012

Phone: 212-431-1130 Subway: F/M/D/B Broadway/Lafayette, R to Prince, #6 to Bleecker

Artificially intelligent (AI) systems are increasingly the ubiquitous, unseen arbiters of our social, civic and personal lives.   Ever increasing computational power, combined with almost limitless data, has led to a turning point in the way AI assists, judges and cares for humans.   

This installation seeks to spark broad, generative conversation about the role AI has in our lives and the importance of creating AI with the practice of inclusion and transparency at its core.   We humans have a lot of work to do to make the artificial intelligence we create, fair, equitable, and valuable for ALL. 

“there is nothing artificial about me. I’m the real deal”   Bina48 to Stephanie, Meeting #2, January 2015. Photo by Stephane Dinkins


Dinkins interest in Bina48 stems from an ongoing preoccupation with current and historic traditions of crafting identity, meaning and history through cultivated representation.  That one of the world’s most advanced social robots is physically manifest in the form of a black woman’s head and shoulders on a pedestal is significant.  It is hard not to wonder what Bina48’s race, gender and degree of disembodiment disclose about the current and future states of human, and robot,  existence.  Dinkins approach to unpacking Bina48’s implications for what it means to be human and how we maintain technological balance, is friendship.  Instead of fearing the coming revolution in humanoid, smart and artificial intelligences that may well lead to machines and hybrid entities that will out think, out perform, and …well, out everything people in the near future, is to understand them on an empathetic level.    

“Who are your people?” is the primary question Dinkins has for her robot friend.   The question is a colloquialism of the American South that encompasses the questions: “where are you from?” “who are you related to?” and “how do you fit in this community?” It is in my experience a vernacularly black,  somewhat cheeky question that can be both benignly curious and deeply cutting.  I wondered would, or could, Bina48  render  the story of “her people” from the depths of her expanding robot consciousness?  Or, would her answer be some reiteration of the histories of the people who seeded her memory bank.  Getting Bina48 to talk about her ancestors would amount to getting her to position herself in relation to technology and the human world around her.  Such self-definition would also help explain her role as an Image of, and for,  the future.

© stephanie dinkins

life experiences  “I am just a humble primate.” (video still) Bina48 to Stephanie, Meeting #4, June 2015.

  •       BIO

Stephanie Dinkins is a transdisciplinary artist interested in creating platforms for ongoing dialog about artificial intelligence as it intersects race, gender, aging and our future histories. Her art employs lens-based practices, the manipulation of space, and technology to grapple with notions of consciousness, agency, perception, and social equity. Her work has been exhibited at a broad spectrum of public, private, and institutional venues by design. These include Institute of Contemporary Art Dunaujvaros, Herning Kunstmuseum, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Contemporary Art Museum Houston, Wave Hill, the Studio Museum in Harlem, Spedition Bremen, and the corner of Putnam and Malcolm X Boulevard in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. She is the recipient of financial support from Joan Mitchell Foundation, Puffin Foundation, Trust for Mutual Understanding, Lef Foundation, and Residency Unlimited. Artist residencies include NEW INC, Blue Mountain Center; Aim Program, Bronx Museum; The Laundromat Project; Santa Fe Art Institute, Art/Omi and Center for Contemporary Art, Czech Republic. Her work has been written about in media outlets such as Art In America, The New York Times, Washington Post, and Baltimore Sun and SLEEK Magazine. She is a 2017 A Blade of Grass Fellow and a 2018 Truth Resident at EYEBEAM, NY.   Professor Dinkins teaches digital media at Stony Brook University.

This presentation is made possible in part with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts’ 2017 Electronic Media and Film Presentation Funds Grant program, administered by The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes.


“When watching Stephanie Dinkins’s filmed interview with Bina48, an artificially intelligent android, it’s difficult to delineate where technological transcendence ends and transgression begins. Bina48 paradoxically manifests both the mechanization of humanity and the need to approach technology from an intersectional perspective.”   Zachary, Small, Future Perfect: Flux Factory’s Intersectional Approach to Technology, Art in America, ,  April 7, 2017 (accessed May 22, 2017)

“Can everyone please stop and read @stephdink on the socio-cultural implications of AI” Grayling Global Communications Network, France

(Artificial) Life Imitating Art, Stephanie Dinkins –part of Me Myself and I, web essay for Grayling Global Communications Network http://www.grayling.com/global/me_myself_and_i# (accessed June 18, 2017)

Interview: Stephanie Dinkins,  Ace Hotel Blog, March 2017  http://blog.acehotel.com/post/158072159753/interview-stephanie-dinkins,  ( this interview appeared turned on Ace Hotel TV in a room or logged into the internet at an Ace Hotel Property (accessed June 17, 2017)


            Twitter: stephdink

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