Continuing a trend that has been controversial among filmmakers, a new Andy Warhol documentary series, coming to Netflix next month, will resurrect the Pop artist using artificial intelligence. In the show, Warhol can be heard reading from his diaries. That voice, however, is not the artist’s own but rather the product of AI made to sound like him.
Andrew Rossi, who created the series, titled The Andy Warhol Diaries, undertook this unusual measure with the Andy Warhol Foundation’s permission, according to a trailer released by Netflix on Wednesday. The series also portrays the AI-generated narration as something Warhol himself would’ve wanted.
“I went down to the office because they are making a robot of me,” an AI-generated Warhol says in the trailer, referring to a mechanical prototype made in 1982 that could be fitted with a prosthetic resembling his face.
The Andy Warhol Diaries is the latest grand survey for the artist, who was the subject of a nearly-1,000-page biography by Blake Gopnik in 2020 and a 350-work Whitney Museum retrospective in 2018. The show is set to feature interviews with artists such as John Waters and Glenn Ligon, dealers Larry Gagosian and Jeffrey Deitch, and curator Donna de Salvo, who organized the 2018 Whitney show.
Filmmakers are relying more frequently on AI in blockbuster documentaries as of late. Last year, AI was used to recreate Anthony Bourdain’s voice for Roadrunner and to reconstruct footage of the Beatles producing their album Let It Be for the three-part series Get Back. Though at times technically impressive, this usage of AI has provoked debate about the ethics of utilizing the technology to enliven dead figures and generated questions about the truth-telling quality commonly associated with documentary filmmaking.
A trailer for The Andy Warhol Diaries appears below.