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The Zizi Show 2021 Montage Of Deepfake Drag Artists C O The Artist

The New Real: The Zizi Show

Featuring newly commissioned artworks alongside a series of critical reflections, this exhibition explores the boundary between the real and artificial. 

The International Festival and Edinburgh Futures Institute have co-commissioned The New Real, a digital art exhibition which aims to build awareness of the ways data systems and artificial intelligence reflect and shape our social reality.

The exhibition comprises two arresting digital installations that reflect on humanity’s journey into a ‘new real’ and how we make sense of differing realities. Rather than using traditional methods, these artworks are created by artists using data and machine-learning algorithms as their material.

The Zizi Show, created by Jake Elwes in collaboration with a community of drag artists, is a virtual cabaret show with a twist.  

The Zizi Show Thumbnail

Zizi is a drag act constructed by deep-fake technology who has learned by watching a diverse group of human performers. Throughout the show Elwes constructs and then deconstructs Zizi, exposing the technology used to create the character and pushing the limits of what can be imagined on a digital stage.

In this playful and vivacious artwork, audiences are invited to switch between the different deep-fake identities that Zizi has learned and enjoy sparkling versions of hit songs.

Alongside the artworks, The New Real features a series of reflections on the dilemmas and tensions of machine learning and AI. An online event featuring a discussion with Jake Elwes, Me the Drag Queen and curator Drew Hemment exploring the politics of AI and drag will take place on 18 March.

Find out more and book your free place 

Curated by Drew Hemment
Edinburgh Futures Institute 
Artwork by Jake Elwes

The New Real is an initiative by University of Edinburgh, working with Edinburgh's festivals and The Alan Turing Institute, to showcase the extraordinary creative potential of AI, and support resilience and recovery in the arts and creative industries.

A project by the Experiential AI research group at Edinburgh Futures Institute and Edinburgh College of Art.

Supported by Edinburgh Futures Institute; Creative Scotland; Creative Informatics; and the Data-Driven Innovation programme of the South East Scotland City and Region Deal. 

Thanks to Festivals, Cultural and City Events, School of Informatics, Bayes Centre at the University of Edinburgh; Heriot Watt University.  

Mechanized Cacophonies developed in partnership with Ars Electronica and AI Lab (ARTificial Intelligence Lab). 

8 March-3 May 2021


This event was part of a previous International Festival and is therefore unavailable to book or watch. The 2021 programme will be announced in June.