Digital Resurrections and Material Performance

Jasmine Erdener (Koç University)

Digital resurrections have become increasingly popular, as people seek to realize the long-standing technological fantasy of escaping the body or evading death. Resurrection technologies often combine AI with an individual’s social media data, text messages, emails, and oral history interviews, to create a digital replica of the deceased. I met and interviewed the robot Bina48, a robot based on a living woman, Bina Rothblatt. Bina48’s developers are also trying to encode the robot with an understanding of racial and gendered identity, to reflect Bina Rothblatt’s experiences of life as an African American woman in the US. In this project, I examine how high-tech performing objects such as Bina48 intersect with this technological-enhanced vision of life after death. What implications does this have for identity, memory, and privacy? What happens to racial and gender identity when the corporeal body has died but an AI adaptation lives on?

Part of V4-03 Race, Gender and Animacy in Object Performance, Thursday, October 12, 8:00 am–10:00 am