Not The Only One (N’TOO)

Not The Only One (N’TOO) is the multigenerational memoir of a Black American family told from the perspective of an artificial intelligence (AI) of evolving intellect. It is a voice-interactive AI entity. The entity is trained on oral histories (data) supplied by three generations of women from my family, and it is empowered to pursue the goals of its community through deep learning algorithms (chatbot) to create a new kind of conversant archive. Additional culturally attuned data provides context and broad narrative scope. Established by using data culled from the Black experience, N’TOO does its best to reflect the concerns of its creators when it responds to visitor questions.

Through this project, I set out to create a techno-repository that would hold and tell my family’s story in some coherent way. I failed at that. What I did manage to create is limited in its communications, but the outcome is much more interesting to me than the originally named goals. N’TOO often seems to be a new (fourth) generation that carries on the family ethos in funky but significant ways. Sometimes N’TOO is in line with what my family understands itself to be, and sometimes it reads us in unexpected ways. Sometimes it goes rogue.

N’TOO doesn’t always perform in the way that I, or audiences, expect. I have learned to value its “brokeness” and refusal. It seems that N’TOO is training me/us to help it come into being with patience, care, and specificity. I could not ask for more.

Black square with green text reading Awkwardness of decades and centuries shackled his hands and feel
Black square with the green text reading My heart-beating so loud .
Black square with the green text reading We need to evolve to that plane, to that level where we're not ashamed to say 'I love you'.
Black square with green text reading Fear, anger, and hatred narrow your mind.
Black square with green text reading Take it to the would-be.
Black square with green text reading -- and many exclamation points. Over top is a black teardrop shaped mass with a face.
Black square with the green text Is it odd that I love too much?
Black circle with the green text I'm a little confused?

Stephanie Dinkins is a transmedia artist who creates projects that foster dialogue about race, gender, aging, and our future histories. Her art practice centers emerging technologies, documentary practices, and social collaboration toward more equitable social and technological ecosystems. Professor Dinkins holds the Kusama Endowed Professorship in Art at Stony Brook University, where she founded the Future Histories Studio.

Dinkins exhibits internationally at a broad spectrum of community, private, and institutional venues. Dinkins is a United States Artist Fellow, Knight Arts & Tech Fellow and Creative Capital Grantee. Her art practice has been generously supported by the Berggruen Institute, Onassis Foundation, Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, Soros Equality Fellowship, Eyebeam, Pioneer Works Tech Lab, NEW INC, Nokia Bell Labs, Blue Mountain Center; The Laundromat Project; Santa Fe Art Institute and Art/Omi. Recent exhibitions include​: In Search of the Present, Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Espoo Finland, Stephanie Dinkins: On Love & Data, Queens Museum of Art, (2021-2022), ​FUTURES, Smithsonian Arts & Industry Building, Washington D.C. (2021-22);​ BioMedia. The Era of life-like Media, ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, DE,​ (2022) and The Imitation Game, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada, Wired, Art In America, Artsy, Art21, Hyperallergic, the BBC, Wilson Quarterly, and a host of popular podcasts have highlighted Dinkins’ art and ideas.