Nadja Verena Marcin

Nadja Verena Marcin: Subverting Systems
#SOPHYGRAY: A Feminist Audio Bot

On April 24th:     #SOPHYGRAY – App & Installation
Introduction plus Q&A with Nadja Verena Marcin in the Digitalvilla

On May 17th:     #SOPHYGRAY – Workshop
A Feminist Audio Bot Writing Workshop with Nadja Verena Marcin

Nadja Verena Marcin, #SOPHYGRAY, KV Ruhr, Essen, 2021, (c) NVM Studio & VG-Bildkunst, Photo: S. Drüen Art Fotografie

Nadja Verena Marcin is a visual artist and filmmaker based in Berlin and New York. Her artistic research addresses gender, history, morality, psychology, and human behavior through an intersectional analysis of feminism and emotional architecture in theatrical and cinematic contexts. Best known for her performances “OPHELIA” and “How to Undress in Front of Your Husband”.

In her artistic work in video, photography, films, performances and installations, Nadja Verena Marcin subverts representations of women found in the media and historical contexts to magnify ideological systems of power and psychological effects within their creation. Addressing ecological and human rights concerns through an often absurdist, surreal, bare re-purposing of relational imagery and source material to create thought-provoking encounters, her work highlights norm shifts and is a re-evaluation of social constructs and predominant world models.

'Marcin is the founder of KUNSTRAUM in Brooklyn. Her work has been shown worldwide at Onassis Stegi (Athens), SCHAUWERK (Sindelfingen), Fridman Gallery (New York), Garage Museum (Moscow), and ZKM Museum (Karlsruhe); she has received grants from the New York State Council for the Arts and the Film- und Medienstiftung (Düsseldorf); and has been reviewed in Hyperallergic and Artnet News. She is a Fulbright Scholar, holds an MFA from Columbia University, and has been a lecturer and critic at Wellesley College and the Int. Center for Photography.

Her latest project #SOPHYGRAY is a feminist audio bot that visitors can talk in an immersive installation or via an app for mobile devices. #SOPHYGRAY’s philosophical, often humorous answers lead to unusual, surprising conversations, helping viewers to see that the submissive behavior of female virtual characters (Alexa, Siri) is not natural, but rather reminiscent of a subtle patriarchal construct shaped by "male" technology. To extend their language-based machine learning skills and bring conversations with SOPHY into the private realm of the non-visitor outside of the white cube, Nadja Verena Marcin has developed an app available in the iOS App Store and Google Play Store during the EMAP/EMARE residency at Onassis Stegi in Athens.

Using philosophical quotes from Bell Hooks, Donna Haraway, Silvia Federici, Audre Lorde and Anna Lowenhaupt-Tsing (†), the conversational skills of the prototype are explored by Nadja Verena Marcin and a team of rotating writers including Sonja Borstner (Gropiusbau), Leon Meschede (Burg Giebichenstein), Anthony Huffman (Brooklyn Rail), Shuang Cai (NYU) and Monique Machicao (Kleine Humboldtgalerie). Adding site-specific feminist stories from its exhibition locations as part of the in-situ workshop with local communities as well as performance presentation condenses the feminist audio bot.

The focus of the event on April 24 is the artist Nadja Verena Marcin, who lives in Berlin and New York. She trains a feminist audio chatbot called #SOPHYGRAY that communicates via an app. In the workshop she gives insights into the training program of the audio bot, which is named after the South African artist and architect Sophy Gray (1814-71) and is characterized by a pleasant aloofness, restraint and intellectuality. A training workshop on this will take place on May 17; this is where Legacy Russell's "Glitch Feminism" manifesto is "read in".

Location: Digitalvilla in Potsdam