Written by 8:58 pm Discussions

### Unveiling Sundance’s ‘Being (the Digital Griot)’: Uniting Digital, Physical, and AI

Being (the Digital Griot) brings an AI chatbot learned in influential philosophy on race and gender…

In West Africa, a griot plays a multifaceted role beyond that of a mere storyteller; they embody a repository of wisdom, a cultural focal point, a forecaster of what lies ahead, and a guardian of truth, bridging the gap between historical narratives and the future. Similarly, Being (the Digital Griot) aims to merge profound contemplations on race, slavery, and culture with artificial intelligence, dance, chatbots, poetry, workshops, and other diverse components to craft a unified and interactive experience.

The debut of Being at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, is set for today as part of the festival’s New Frontier segment, recognized for presenting innovative approaches to storytelling through film and various media forms.

The New Frontier segment of the festival is devoted to championing artists who explore the convergence of film, art, performance, and state-of-the-art technology. This year, the emphasis is on designs that empower storytelling and nurture creative expression amidst the changing landscape of advanced technologies.

Lead Artist Rashaad Newsome encountered a distinctive challenge with Being as it transcends conventional classification as a film. Instead, it offers an immersive encounter crafted to stimulate conversations and reflections on overcoming racial divides and striving for a fairer and more enduring society.

The project’s inception dates back to 2020 at San Francisco’s Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, where the initial rendition, To Be Real, delved into the dynamics surrounding labor, robotics, and the historical exploitation of African Americans brought to the United States as slaves. This exploration unfolded against the backdrop of the pandemic and the nationwide anti-racism protests following the tragic death of George Floyd.

Newsome’s vision for Being arose from a desire to ignite meaningful dialogues through art, pondering the repercussions of automation on labor, race, and societal dynamics in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The initiative scrutinizes the historical parallels between African Americans and robotic labor, shedding light on the dehumanization experienced by the former.

The evolution from To Be Real to Being (the Digital Griot) ushered in advancements in AI technology to elevate the participant experience. The immersive encounters, often with intimate audiences, featured an AI chatbot steering discussions on race, gender, automation, and identity, complemented by dance sessions and intellectually stimulating lectures.

The Sundance rendition of Being will integrate elements of poetry, philosophical insights on race and gender from renowned intellectuals, and interactive sessions with the AI chatbot. This workshop-style approach endeavors to emancipate participants from oppressive systems and cultivate critical dialogue on relevant social issues.

A compelling facet of Being is its adaptable nature; each interaction shapes the AI’s progression, enriching its comprehension and potentially influencing forthcoming iterations of the encounter. Newsome envisions this groundbreaking fusion of art and technology not only as a therapeutic medium but also as a tool to tackle societal hurdles and enhance human experiences.

Visited 1 times, 1 visit(s) today
Last modified: January 24, 2024
Close Search Window
Close