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

    ASU researchers explore cultural legacy of ‘Frankenstein’ on film

    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.

    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.

  • Author Margaret Atwood to discuss creative writing, science at ASU

    Author Margaret Atwood to discuss creative writing, science at ASU

    This article originally appeared in ASU News. Internationally renowned novelist and environmental activist Margaret Atwood will visit Arizona State University this November to discuss the relationship…

    Author Margaret Atwood to discuss creative writing, science at ASU

    This article originally appeared in ASU News.

    Internationally renowned novelist and environmental activist Margaret Atwood will visit Arizona State University this November to discuss the relationship between art and science, and the importance of creative writing and imagination for addressing social and environmental challenges.

    Atwood’s visit will mark the launch of the Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative, a new collaborative venture at ASU among the Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, the Center for Science and the Imagination and the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing. Atwood, author of the MaddAddam trilogy of novels that have become central to the emerging literary genre of climate fiction, or “CliFi,” will offer the inaugural lecture for the initiative on Nov. 5.

    “We are proud to welcome Margaret Atwood, one of the world’s most celebrated living writers, to ASU and engage her in these discussions around climate, science and creative writing,” said Jewell Parker Rhodes, founding artistic director for the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing and the Piper Endowed Chair at Arizona State University. “A poet, novelist, literary critic and essayist, Ms. Atwood epitomizes the creative and professional excellence our students aspire to achieve.”

    Focusing in particular on CliFi, the Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative will explore how imaginative skills can be harnessed to create solutions to climate challenges, and question whether and how creative writing can affect political decisions and behavior by influencing our social, political and scientific imagination.

    “ASU is a leader in exploring how creativity and the imagination drive the arts, sciences, engineering and humanities,” said Ed Finn, director of the Center for Science and the Imagination. “The Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative will use the thriving CliFi genre to ask the hard questions about our cultural relationship to climate change and offer compelling visions for sustainable futures.”

    The multidisciplinary Initiative will bring together researchers, artists, writers, decision-makers and the public to engage in research projects, teaching activities and events at ASU and beyond. The three ASU programs behind the Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative have a track record for academic and public engagement around innovative programs, including the Sustainability Solutions Festival; Emerge; and the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference.

    “Imagining how the future could unfold in a climatically changing world is key to making good policy and governance decisions today,” said Manjana Milkoreit, a postdoctoral fellow with the Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives. “We need to know more about the nature of imagination, its relationship to scientific knowledge and the effect of cultural phenomena such as CliFi on our imaginative capabilities and, ultimately, our collective ability to create a safe and prosperous future.”

    For more information, please visit climateimagination.asu.edu or join the Twitter conversation at #climatefutures.

    Media Contact: Jason Franz, jason.franz@asu.edu
    (480) 727-4072

  • ASU, NGA to address national security risks of climate change

    ASU, NGA to address national security risks of climate change

    Arizona State University was selected for a competitive, five-year award of $20 million by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) to launch a research partnership, effective June 1, to explore approaches for anticipating and mitigating national security risks associated with climate change.

    ASU, NGA to address national security risks of climate change

    This article originally appeared in ASU News, and was written by Amelia Huggins of ASU’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development. The Center for Science and the Imagination will be contributing to the Foresight Initiative by developing design principles, prototypes and tools for geo-narratives and other interventions at the nexus of storytelling and geospatial data. 

    Arizona State University was selected for a competitive, five-year award of $20 million by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) to launch a research partnership, effective June 1, to explore approaches for anticipating and mitigating national security risks associated with climate change.

    Known as the Foresight Initiative, the cooperative agreement venture will explore how the effects of climate change on resources, such as water, food and energy, could contribute to political unrest and instability, and gain insights to sustainability and resilience strategies for mitigating the effects.

    This initiative will play a key role in collaborative research efforts to accelerate the evolution of Activity-Based Intelligence addressing system level activities, dynamics and interdependent network effects in the context of global climate risks to water security. This multi-year research partnership leverages ASU expertise and thought leadership in visual analytics, complex modeling and transdisciplinary decision-making evolving from years of internal and external investments at ASU.

    “NGA’s investment and partnership with ASU is a game-changing relationship,” said ASU President Michael Crow. “This innovative research initiative will develop solutions and be a catalyst for the critical and creative thinking needed to address the complex challenges that come with climate change.”

    Leveraging computing and system modeling initiatives at ASU and partner organizations, the Foresight Initiative will apply ubiquitous cloud computing and storage technologies, advances in natural user interfaces and machine learning to address unique geospatial data handling and visual analytic challenges driven by the volume and character of future persistent data flows. The resulting capabilities will allow analysts and decision-makers to dynamically interact with diverse data sets in a real-time modeling and simulation environment. This will help them assess the effectiveness of plans, policies and decisions; discover second- and third-order causal relationships; and understand spatial and temporal patterns that reveal non-obvious underlying interconnections and dependencies.

    “I am very proud to announce our partnership with ASU, a world-class research university,” said Letitia Long, NGA director. “Our partnership is a prime example of the intelligence community working smartly with academia to address strategic global issues and to create capabilities that benefit everyone.”

    Key areas at ASU that will be integral to this work include the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, College of Public Programs, Decision Theater Network and Decision Center for a Desert City.

    For example, ASU’s Decision Theater provides advanced modeling and simulation that allows diverse groups of stakeholders to visualize large amounts of data, policy parameters and environmental uncertainties on panoramic HD displays. Scientists, analysts and decision-makers can easily interact in real-time to tweak the rules and data sets to account for new insights and deeper understanding of relationships, providing a range of outcomes based on the changes. This allows for more effective decision-making among people from different backgrounds.

    “This is a tremendous partnership and opportunity for a real, tangible impact in addressing strategic security and humanitarian needs,” said Nadya Bliss, principal investigator of the Foresight Initiative and assistant vice president, research strategy with ASU’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development. “It is also pioneering how the academic and government research communities can leverage each other’s strengths to seek solutions to these global-scale issues while advancing fundamental transdisciplinary research. ASU is the perfect place for this initiative because of the culture of use-inspired research and exceptional quality faculty working across traditional disciplinary boundaries.”