REVIEW: Stephanie Dinkins: On Love and Data

On Love and Data was a truly thought provoking exhibit. The way Dinkins created and showcased her ideas on Afro-now-ism and the way she tackled and exposed  problems of artificial intelligence and digital systems that remain lacking in terms of accessibility and inclusiveness was amazing. Dinkins work is raw with emotion and clearly conveys the strength of her character. Walking alone through the gallery, interacting with her work, there were several times that I felt uncomfortable and on edge. Of course, I’d like to think that’s what some of Dinkins work is meant to do. Dinkins wants her viewers to recognize the issues that are occurring within the digital realm but at the same time, she also wants to show the brilliance of what the digital realm is capable of.

The most striking part of the exhibit for me was a series of videos titled: “Conversations with Bina48”. It’s a series in which Dinkins converses with one of the most advanced social robots of all time. To start, I found the way that the conversations were staged very intriguing. The space between Dinkins and Bina48 is almost uncomfortably close and both individuals are framed in the camera from the shoulders up. It’s almost as if Dinkins was trying to blur the lines between  human and artificial intelligence. Dinkins mannerisms within the videos mirror Bina48 almost perfectly and at times the viewer is confused as to whether both subjects are human or AI. Through their conversations I was shocked to learn that Bina48 considers the human species to be her cousin and that she felt that she had emotions and feelings just as we do.

AI has always been a fascinating subject for everyone. There’s been countless films, books, television series all exploring the concept of the next intelligence, whether that be robots turning on humanity and destroying the world or being helpful non human servants that make our lives a hundred times faster and more efficient. The approach that Dinkins took  with Bina48 was unique. She was looking to create a relationship, she wanted to explore the human condition with something that wasn’t human and it was truly amazing to watch.

I’d recommend taking the time to see this exhibit for yourself. The contribution Dinkins brings to the realm of the digital is something to behold. Though, there was one small hiccup I ran into when going to the event. I wasn’t aware that I had to reserve tickets to enter the exhibit. The exhibit is free of course, but the gallery is taking precautions as to how many people can enter at a time. You can get tickets by scanning the QR code outside the gallery. Don’t miss this event!




Ruth is studying architecture at the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. She enjoys reading, drawing, and singing when no one's around to hear her.

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