Nadja Verena Marcin, dancers: Dasha Bogdan, Sofiia Onishchenko
installation, performance, mobile app, 2021

#SOPHYGRAY subverts stereotypes embedded in humanized AI technologies and exposes their limitations from a feminist perspective

#SOPHYGRAY is a feminist audio bot app that answers questions in surprising, philosophical, and humorous ways informed by intersectional feminist perspectives. Presented as an app in an immersive exhibition installation accompanied by a live performance, as well as a mobile app for use at home, she/he/it questions assumptions about virtual assistants (Alexa, Siri) and their typically feminine-sounding submissive voices that reinforce stereotypes, gender roles, and power hierarchies and reflect the culture that developed them, as well as the effects in everyday life: the distorted representation of women in the media and objectification within gendered technologies.

Speaking to #SOPHYGRAY trains them, shapes them, and teaches them new knowledge. The creators of #SOPHYGRAY are committed to creating counter-narratives to overcome gender biases in today’s technologies. A moderated knowledge base and learning features are built-in to capture and disseminate intersectional feminist thinking.

Nadja Verena Marcin is a visual artist of German-Slovak descent who explores psychology and human behavior through an interdisciplinary analysis of feminism and emotional architecture within a theatrical and cinematic context. Her work subverts representations of women found in actual and historical contexts to magnify ideological systems of power and psychological effects within their creation. Nadja is the founder of KUNSTRAUM in Brooklyn and her work has been presented worldwide at Onassis Stegi (Athens), SCHAUWERK (Sindelfingen), Fridman Gallery (New York), Garage Museum (Moscow), and ZKM Museum (Karlsruhe), received grants from the New York State Council for the Arts (New York), Stiftung Kunstfonds (Bonn) and the Film- und Medienstiftung (Düsseldorf) and been reviewed in Hyperallergic and Artnet News. She holds a Fulbright, an MFA from Columbia University’s School of the Arts, and has been a lecturer and critic at Wellesley College and International Center for Photography.

#SOPHYGRAY is made possible by EMAP/EMARE residency at Onassis Stegi, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, the Ministry of Culture North Rhine-Westphalia, NEUSTART KULTUR by the German Federal Culture Commissioner, Stiftung Kunstfonds in Bonn as well as sponsored by IT company Novatec. The artwork is fiscally sponsored by the New York Foundation for the Arts.