• ASU researchers explore cultural legacy of ‘Frankenstein’ on film

    ASU researchers explore cultural legacy of ‘Frankenstein’ on film

    This story was originally published at ASU News. A panel of researchers from Arizona State University’s Frankenstein Bicentennial Project will deliver public lectures as part of…

    ASU researchers explore cultural legacy of ‘Frankenstein’ on film

    This story was originally published at ASU News.

    A panel of researchers from Arizona State University’s Frankenstein Bicentennial Project will deliver public lectures as part of “It’s Alive!: Frankenstein on Film,” a weekend of screenings and conversations, Jan. 23-25, at the SIFF Film Center in Seattle.

    The weekend is hosted by SIFF, the non-profit film organization that runs three year-round cinemas, as well as the Seattle International Film Festival, the largest, most highly-attended film festival in the United States. The panel will take place from 7-9:30 p.m., Jan. 24.

    The “It’s Alive: Frankenstein on Film” weekend explores the variety of worlds that have evolved from Mary Shelley’s classic monster tale through the panel of ASU researchers; a “Cinema Dissection” event with film critic Robert Horton on the classic film The Bride of Frankenstein (1935); encores of the live-filmed version of Danny Boyle’s stage production, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller; and screenings of the films Frankenstein (1931), Young Frankenstein (1974), Flesh for Frankenstein (1973), Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) and Frankenweenie (2012).

    “Working with the Frankenstein Bicentennial Project on this weekend of programs is the perfect fit for SIFF. It not only fulfills our mission to explore the intersection of entertainment and education, but affords us the opportunity to curate a diverse selection of Frankenstein-inspired films, all of which are truly a joy to experience on the big screen,” says Clinton McClung, cinema programmer for SIFF.

    At the panel, researchers from ASU’s Frankenstein Bicentennial Project will delve into the cultural history of Mary Shelley’s novel, its ethical, scientific and artistic legacy, and the numerous film adaptations it has provoked. Clips and discussion topics covered in the panel include the origin of the Frankenstein story, the changing look of the monster over the years, the first film adaptation of the tale in 1910, comedic and family-friendly adaptations of the Frankenstein myth and questions of ethics, scientific creativity and social responsibility that still resonate today in settings ranging from laboratories and government oversight hearings to films such as 2010’s Splice.

    “There is no better cultural carrier than Frankenstein of the ways in which we grapple with questions of scientific creativity and responsibility,” says David H. Guston, one of the panelists and the director of the Center for Nanotechnology in Society. “These films provide different and often nuanced insights into such questions, which were first emerging in Mary Shelley’s time but which are central to our own.”

    Other speakers featured on the panel include Peter Lehman, director of the Center for Film, Media and Popular Culture, and Joey Eschrich, editor and program manager for the Center for Science and the Imagination.

    Lehman notes, “Frankenstein has held fascination for filmmakers beginning with the silent Edison adaptation in 1910 and continuing to this day, with I, Frankenstein, a 2013 film made in 3-D. Several more are currently in various stages of production.”

    The entire “It’s Alive!” weekend is open to the public. Tickets for the panel are $12 each, or $7 for SIFF members. For more information and ticket sales, visit siff.net/cinema/frankenstein-on-film.

  • An Illuminated Manuscript About Space Exploration, Science Fiction, and Physics

    You just don’t see many illuminated manuscripts these days. There’s a good reason why: They take a long time to make.

    I learned this recently when I set out to commission a thoroughly modern illuminated manuscript: not a religious text, but an interview with theoretical physicist and cosmologist Paul Davies, a professor at Arizona State University and the author of books like How to Build a Time Machine.

    An Illuminated Manuscript About Space Exploration, Science Fiction, and Physics

    By Joey Eschrich

    You just don’t see many illuminated manuscripts these days. There’s a good reason why: They take a long time to make.

    I learned this recently when I set out to commission a thoroughly modern illuminated manuscript: not a religious text, but an interview with theoretical physicist and cosmologist Paul Davies, a professor at Arizona State University and the author of books like How to Build a Time Machine. In the interview, Davies discusses the feedback loop between science-fiction storytelling and real-world innovation and discovery; lauds science fiction as an important vehicle for social and political commentary; ponders why our visions of the future are so often mired in gloomy dystopian thinking; and shares his insights on the art of communicating cutting-edge scientific concepts to the public.

    Read the full article at Future Tense…

  • Stage the Future 2: The Second International Conference on Science Fiction Theatre

    Stage the Future 2: The Second International Conference on Science Fiction Theatre

    Sponsored by ASU’s Center for Science and the Imagination and the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts Call for papers: submissions due by January 15,…

    Stage the Future 2: The Second International Conference on Science Fiction Theatre

    Sponsored by ASU’s Center for Science and the Imagination and the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts

    Call for papers: submissions due by January 15, 2015 to stagethefuture@gmail.com – see below for submission guidelines

    Following a successful first conference in the UK, Stage the Future 2 invites abstract submissions for the second annual international science fiction theatre conference to be hosted at Arizona State University on March 6-7, 2015. We welcome papers, panels, and performances that examine and explore the unique attributes live performance offers to science fiction and those that science fiction offers to live performance.

    Science fiction theatre has been steadily emerging and growing into a diverse and global community of artists – from the Science Fiction Theatre Company of Boston, Gideon Productions, OtherWorld and the Vampire Cowboys Theatre in the US to Superbolt, WholeHog, and Stars or Mars in the UK, as well as the annual Sci-Fest theatre festival in Los Angeles – who recognize that the stage has singular qualities, different from literature and film, for engaging the technical and scientific advancements of our modern age.

    The stage can offer wholly unique and original experiences of science fiction that move beyond the boundaries of other mediums. As Susan Sontag has suggested, science fiction literature and film are frequently viewed as two halves of a binary, wherein novels are structured around the intellectual intricacies of hard science, while film provides the viewer with the sensory experience of “science.” Theatre, however, is a platform for both intellectual and sensual elaborations that can transcend such binaries. In this spirit, we call for artists, scholars, critics, and scientists to share ideas on how science fiction theatre may better explore the complexities and contradictions of contemporary scientific practice, particularly in the context of STEM education, sustainable innovation, gender and racial equality, and rational engagement with religion and experiences of the metaphysical.

    In addition to traditional notions of theatre, we welcome diverse views on not just what is considered science fiction, but also what can be considered theatrical engagement with science fiction. Dancers, digital and social media artists, and musicians are equally encouraged to present material that engages science fiction themes for live audiences that are either physically or tele-present.

    The conference welcomes proposals for presentations, roundtables and performances from any discipline and theoretical perspective. Please send a title and a 300 word abstract (as a Word document) for a 20 minute paper or a performance, along with your name, affiliation, and 100 word biography, to stagethefuture@gmail.com by January 15, 2015.

    Topics might include but are not limited to:

    –Future and alternate histories
    –Utopias, dystopias, political SF theatre
    –Non-human and post-human characters
    –Steampunk, cyberpunk, and other -punks on stage
    –Space opera and science fiction opera
    –Apocalypse and post-apocalyptic societies
    –Genetic engineering, cyborgs, clones, A.I.
    –Ecological science fiction
    –Science fiction and dance
    –Menippean satire
    –Planetary romance
    –Adapting science fiction
    –Contemporary fantasy and horror theatres

    Papers presented at the conference will be considered for publication.

    The conference is organized by: Christos Callow, PhD candidate, Birkbeck, University of London; Susan Gray, PhD candidate, Royal Holloway, University of London; Boyd Branch, Visiting Assistant Professor, Arizona State University; Carol Stewart, PhD candidate and Instructor, Bellarmine University; Lance Gharavi, Associate Professor, Arizona State University; and Carrie J. Cole, Assistant Professor, Indiana University of Pennsylvania.