The Zizi Show is a online deepfake drag cabaret. During COVID-19 lock down a community of drag queen artists in London were filmed to train a dataset on of bodies. The dataset was used to train a neural network to generate deepfakes. In the interactive part of the project users can choose between drag artists and performance numbers creating a own drag cabaret. The playful approach to deepfakes presented in The Zizi Show is intended to "dissects one of the dominant myths about AI, the notion that ‘an AI’ is a thing we might mistake for a person."(1)
The project recognizes that facial recognition technology "currently have difficulty recognising trans, queer and other marginalised identities, because they are often made by cis white people"(2) and a part of the project is to queer the normative datasets that are used to train various facial recognition models.
Rather than seeing deepfakes as a threat it tries to de mystify AI asking critical questions "whether making deepfakes using queer identities becomes a means of assimilation or inclusivity… or more a techno-activist method of dirtying and obfuscating the systems used to collect data on us." (2) In this context the use of deepfakes becomes something an empowering tool celebrating queerness.