Arts / ANU celebrates 200 years of monsters


IT’s a happy 200th birthday to Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel “Frankenstein” and the Australian National University is holding a conference to celebrate.

The conference, “Frankenstein 2018: Two hundred years of monsters”, runs from today (September 12) to September 15 and will include a range of experts speaking on how the book has impacted upon science, technology, genetics, artificial intelligence and medical ethics.

Topics include “Frankenstein, the Luddites, and the birth of automation”, “examining the career of a real-life Victor Frankenstein” and “Frankenstein, artificial life and the definition of life”.

The event will also focus on how “Frankenstein”, which began as Shelley’s contribution to a round of ghost stories at Lord Byron’s place during a cold, wet summer in Switzerland, has continued to influence modern storytelling. There will be presentations exploring how the HBO drama “Westworld”, the “Iron Man” films, and Neil Shusterman’s “Unwind” novel series all draw inspiration from Shelley’s work, often regarded as the first science fiction book.

The conference will also feature a screening of “Exquisite Corpse”, a film showing student projects that combine art and anatomy to creatively explore of the functions of the heart, lungs and thorax. It’ll be played in the foyer at the National Film and Sound Archive.

The fun part will be a magic lantern show and a workshop where participants collaborate to create skeletal hands and feet from plasticine and sugar paste.

More information at hrc.cass.anu.edu.au

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Helen Musa
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