The Zizi Show is a deepfake drag cabaret that explores the ethical problems which exist in Artificial Intelligence (AI). Al refers to the ability of a computer system to interpret and learn from given data. Although viewed by some as flawlessly neutral, Al applications often show discriminatory behaviour because the datasets they rely on reflect the bias of their human programmers.
The artist Jake Elwes observed that computer systems have difficulty recognising trans, queer and other marginalised identities', which can cause them to visibly break down. They wanted to highlight how this issue in Al contributes to maintaining society's heteronormative bias. For The Zizi Show, Elwes looked to drag - the ultimate expression of gender non-conformity and constructed identity - to expose and subvert this bias. They consider their work to be both a reclamation of technology that can otherwise be oppressive and exploitative, and a celebration of performance, difference, community and creativity.
All the fabulous performers in The Zizi Show have been generated using deepfake technology, a type of Al process that can create new footage of someone using another person's likeness.
Jake Elwes collaborated with a community of drag artists to make photographic datasets of their bodies.
New videos were then synthesised using machine learning systems designed to mimic the performers' lip-syncing movements. Ewes deliberatelv included diverse bodies, genders and sexualities in the datasets, tackling the lack of representation in the algorithms typically used to develop new technologies.
The performers consented to having datasets of themselves made and re-animated - a crucial element of the collaboration intended to empower queer communities.
Music and performance credits: This Is My Life, Shirley Bassey: Movement by Me Raise Your Glass, Pink: Movement by Lilly Snatchdragon I Am What I Am, La Cage Aux Folles: Movement by Me Sweet Dreams (Live), Beyoncé: Movement by Cara Melle Freedom! '90, George Michael: Movement by Mark Anthony You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real), Sylvester: Movement by Chiyo Five Years, David Bowie: Movement by Ruby Wednesday
Transition movement by Wet Mess
Large projection channel, lipsync movement performed by Cara Melle
Render of 7 close-up channels, lipsync movement performed by Chiyo