ON TOPIC: Conversations with professor Donna

#SOPHYGRAY, A feminist voice chat bot

During my first interaction with #SOPHYGRAY, a feminist voice chat bot, I quickly engaged in conversation with Professor Donna Haraway. She pointed me to a number of books that could provide answers to my socio-cultural questions.

The artist behind this interactive installation is Nadja Verena Marcin (1982, Wurzburg). She makes interdisciplinary works in between film and installation art, focusing on gender, psychology, technology and human behavior related topics. Given the voices heard in this work, it’s mainly influential feminists who have influenced this work, and by that also the chatbot.

One of the frequently recurring voices is that of Donna Haraway, a pioneer in modern day feminism. In her conversations with the visitor, she often refers to information which can be found in books in the small library located beneath the screens of the video installation. Here, books from Emilia Roig and Françoise Vergès among others can be found. All books that are part of this installation have in common that they analyze and delve into themes such as gender (identity), colonialism, and feminism.

Donna Haraway (Denver, 1944) is a feminist scholar and cultural critic best known for her contributions to the fields of science and technology studies, feminist theory, and animal studies. She is best known for her seminal essay “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century” (1985), which provides a new way of thinking about the relationships between humans, technology, and nature. This essay is considered a cornerstone of feminist theory, and has a significant impact on the understanding of gender, identity, and technology.

#SOPHYGRAY, A feminist voice chat bot, is one of the biggest and yet ongoing projects of Nadja Verena Marcin. It’ll be exhibited at IMPAKT as part of In Touch, an exhibition about connection in the age of digital humanity. In Touch contains work of four interdisciplinary artists, and is curated by Daniela Tenenbaum. It’ll be on view until May 19th. 

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