Reading Frankenstein 2019

A CounterBalance Theater production based on based on the horror classic Frankenstein by Mary Shelly published in 1818

Reading Frankenstein 2019:

a collaboration between theater director/adapter Annie Loui, media artist and writer Antoinette LaFarge and neurobiologist Jim Fallon

Reading Frankenstein 2003 was an intermedia performance in which a contemporary scientist named Mary Shelley discovered that one of her failed computer experiments was running amok in her laboratory, at the same time as the novel Frankenstein was haunting her imagination. Using layered digital projections, brain imaging, and a virtual creature interacting with a live human actor, Reading Frankenstein examined the ethical repercussions of scientific research from the creature’s point of view. Reading Frankenstein was the inaugural performance work at the Beall Center for Art and Technology.

Reading Frankenstein 2019 continues the original collaboration between theater director Annie Loui, media artist and writer Antoinette LaFarge, and neurobiologist Jim Fallon. Seventeen years later, we were prompted to revisit and rewrite the story in the light of the developing autonomy of A.I.s and the revolutionary scientific possibilities of CRISPR-based genetic engineering. In the 2019 production, our Creature confronts Mary Shelley with urgent moral dilemmas revolving around the ethics of life-creation and the question of survival in an era of accelerating climate change.

Probably one of the monsters par excellence, Frankenstein, Mary Shelley’s creation, has been identified by many critics as her imaginative response to the so-called ‘year without a summer’ in the (for long unexplained) climatic shift of 1816. A creative, imaginative way to link the disturbance that human-nature-science-technology interaction can produce through the lens of monstrosity, while simultaneously calling for fear and empathy. The inter-media performance ‘Reading Frankenstein’, co-created by Annie Loui, Antoinette LaFarge and Jim Fallon at the Clair Trevor School of Art (UCI), articulates this disturbance and call, and places them in the monstrous shifts that surrounds us, from climate to social (in)justice.

Fabiola Camuti
ArtEZ University of the Arts

CounterBalance Theater’s Reading Frankenstein representative scenes
Running Time: 4:24 minutes

Filming & Editing by Simon Sorin ( ; #simon.vs.sor  #UCIlluminations #CounterBalanceTheater #Frankenstein #ReadingFrankenstein #ctsa #ucictsa #ucidrama #uciart

Photo credit
Photography by Jesús López Vargas ( ; #UCIlluminations #CounterBalanceTheater #Frankenstein #ReadingFrankenstein #ctsa #ucictsa #ucidrama #uciart

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