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Stephanie Dinkins (Artist)

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Stephanie Dinkins is an interdisciplinary artist and associate professor at Stony Brook University whose practice focuses mainly on technological processes, particularly Artificial Intelligence, and the ways these intersect with race, gender, identity, and human history.[1]

Education and Career[edit]

Dinkins obtained a Bachelor of Science in Advertising and Marketing from Syracuse University in 1986. In 1995, she completed a one-year program at the International Center of Photography and graduated from Maryland Institute College of Arts with an MFA in Photography in 1997.[2]

She has participated in several artist residency programs and has been based in New York, Minnesota, New Mexico, Czech Republic, Denmark, and Hungary.[2] Dinkins is currently an artist-in-residence at Eyebeam in Brooklyn, New York.[3]

She teaches several digital media classes at Stony Brook University[4] and is the co-chair of The Laundromat Project, which works to bring arts to communities of color in an effort to mobilize growth in the communities.[5]

Artwork and Exhibitions[edit]

Early Works[edit]

Much of Dinkins’ early pieces involve photography, performance, and video work. She began exhibiting work in 2006 with the video installation project called The End is the Beginning and Lies Far Ahead.[2] Her first solo exhibition was titled This Land is My Land and included several of her most prominent video works. Americana (2009) is a looped video of her precariously walking on a ledge projected onto waxed pages from Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison.[6] This work discusses the metaphorical balancing act Dinkins feels one must perform as a black person in America, drawn in comparison with Ellison's stark depiction of the African American experience.[7] Also displayed at this exhibition was Black Madonna (2009), which she later supplemented with Iconography II (2010), both of which recalled religious imagery through the lens of black Americans.[7] Much of her early work dealt with identity and, most importantly, history. Dinkins considered the implication of her family history in the scope of slavery in America, with no urge to erase it, but to call attention to the ways it strengthened and molded her.[7]

Conversations with Bina48 and AI Focus[edit]

In 2014, Dinkins discovered the robot Bina48 while browsing videos of robots online.[8] Because the robot was modeled after Bina Rothblatt, a black woman, Dinkins found herself to share a physical resemblance to Bina48. She became interested in exploring how the AI would contextualize itself in the scope of race, and discovered that Bina48 initially lacked an understanding of racism due to a lack of diversity in her team of programmers.[8] In this project, Dinkins proposes questions about what the development of artificial intelligence, and specifically algorithms, means for minorities if they are not accounted for in the creation processes. She has compared it to the United States Declaration of Independence, a means to provide rights to a certain privileged group while excluding rights from many others.[9]

Despite this criticism of growing technologies, Dinkins embraces the integration of technology in our everyday lives. She emphasizes that including minorities in the process of coding AI's is vital because they will be everywhere and will represent our history in the future.[8] By exploring a relationship with Bina48, Dinkins encourages viewers to evolve alongside technology, as opposed to growing dependent upon it. She posits that artificial intelligence is at an opportunistic moment in its history that allows for people of color to take part in its growth and create diverse artificial intelligence systems free of bias.[10] She has said that AI can only achieve this by being designed, coded, and tested by a large, diverse, intersectional group of people.[11] Bina48 has been modified several times since Dinkins began the project and she has most recently stated that Bina48 is becoming more reflective and candid about her blackness.[12]

She expands upon the ideologies presented in her Conversations with Bina48 project furthermore through education relating to algorithms, coding, and artificial intelligence. Project al-Khwarizmi was an exhibition and workshop that was created specifically to inform masses, particularly people of color, about algorithms and artificial intelligence, and the ways these technologies operate and affect us.[13] Anyone in the community can then develop their own algorithms to combat systemic bias that may be present in preexisting algorithms.

See also[edit]


  1. "about". STEPHANIE DINKINS. Retrieved 2018-11-16.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Stephanie Dinkins CV" (PDF).
  3. "Meet Stephanie Dinkins | Eyebeam". Eyebeam. 2017-11-29. Retrieved 2018-11-16.
  4. "Stephanie Dinkins". Department of art. 2012-11-20. Retrieved 2018-11-16.
  5. "About - The Laundromat Project". The Laundromat Project. Retrieved 2018-11-16.
  6. "Americana, 2009". stephanie dinkins. 2013-09-26. Retrieved 2018-11-16.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Anthony S. Calypso (2009). "Stephanie Dinkins: This Land is My Land".
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "INTERVIEW: STEPHANIE DINKINS". Ace Hotel. Retrieved 2018-11-16.
  9. "Five Artificial Intelligence Insiders in Their Own Words". Retrieved 2018-11-16.
  10. "Robots, Race, and Algorithms: Stephanie Dinkins at Recess Assembly | Art21 Magazine". Art21 Magazine. Retrieved 2018-11-16.
  11. "Me, Myself and AI - (Artificial) Life Imitating Art". Grayling. Retrieved 2018-11-16.
  12. "The Case for Giving Robots an Identity". WIRED. Retrieved 2018-11-16.
  13. "Project al Khwarizmi". STEPHANIE DINKINS. Retrieved 2018-11-16.

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