City Sights: Finding the science-art in New York area art exhibitions
By Julia Buntaine, Editor-in-Chief
Frankenstein 2029 is a multi-media experience melding visual art, theater, music, dance, and film produced by the collaborative efforts of over eighty students, teachers, administration, staff, and alumni at Lafayette College in Easton, PA. Based on and inspired by Mary Shelley's novel, Frankenstein 2029 reaches both backwards and forwards in time, combining visual and thematic elements from the 1800s and a projected time in our not-so-distant future of the year 2029.
Addressing ideas of consciousness, transhumanism, and biotechnological advance, the performance takes place over eight distinct venues spanning the arts campus. Between Mary Shelley's Geneva apartment, the laboratory of the 21st century Dr. Victor Frankenstein, the arctic-bound ship from which 19th century Frankenstein writes his letters, and more, the actors play their parts continuously as the audience decides where to go next in this build-you-own adventure experience. With various characters including scientists, forest creatures, transhuman monsters, and sparkling neurons wandering around from one venue to the next, chance meetings of characters and audience occur creating spontaneous interactions.
Complete with fictitious Twitter accounts and a website created for the modern day Dr. Frankenstein's company ('Victor Neurotech', boasting a speciality in 'smart tattoos' that integrate digital information into the body), Frankenstein 2029 is full of strange yet sensical tangents (including the audience requirement to wear hospital-masks for 'protection') that add layer after layer to the performance experience. Combined with 'protestors' holding signs outside of the college with slogans like "Humans NOT Machines," "I lost my job because I don't have an upgrade," and "Society Against Victor Neurotech," Frankenstein 2029 has a War of the Worlds quality, where the fiction presented blurs into a tangible reality that feels closer than just out of reach.
The brainchild of arts professor Ed Kerns and theater professor Suzanne Westfall, Frankenstein 2029 is a wonderfully wild testament to cross-disciplinary collaboration and inventive pedagogy.
The performance runs through this Saturday 4/25. For more information on the performance, visit:
Image credits: Julia Buntaine.