Born digital? My piece for the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

On may 9 I flew to Germany to paint a 3D pavement artwork for the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. After troubles and a deleted flight (a unexpected 20 hours travel to get Munich by flight, I was really tired) I finally arrived in Ingolstadt, ready to create my piece in the alterathaus square. My friends Alex, Eduardo and Tony already started the day after. Well, I was excited to work on that subject (Frankenstein 4.0) and also that the event was related to a contemporary art exhibition in a gallery called Harder Bastei, such an inspiring place. The Bastei is managed by a german artist, Beate Diao, and the event was organized by her with my friend Frederike Wouters. I created a 4×7 meters piece with acryl paint on vynil pvc.

From The Rocky Horror Show to the 1931 film that made Boris Karloff’s fame, retellings of Shelley’s story are everywhere. Beyond the monster stereotypes, though, the original story has a lot to teach us, especially on the ethical questions science continues to raise today. The novel has at its core the profound question that goes back to Prometheus: ‘What is our responsibility for the things or entities that we create?’. So it is totally actual, questioning about where the limits are and how far to push, and what the implications are of what we do in the world.

I tought to science and tecnology and, even if at the beginning I supposed to create a piece on sex dolls that many men take as wives, at the end I decided to create a piece on cellular phones and on digital natives. Every day I see children walking as zombies and whatching their smartphones as their unique interest and it is quite scary. Well, technology is a instrument and it is a good device for us (I also use it everyday). Therefore it hasn’t to be our goal, it hasn’t to be a sobstitute of real life and relations. That’s my opinion.

That’s why my artwork shows a fetus sitting in/on/throught a phone. He/She is still unconscious but his/her umbilical cord becomes the cable that feeds the phone. The umbilical cord is the medium that the fetus needs to be alimented and we use the same word – feeding – to say that the electronic devices are charged. On the phone you can see the face of Frankenstein, as a selfie. Therefore the fetus is still not connected to the phone. Could we cut the cord and save him/her? I tried to do that interacting with the painting :)

I’ll add other photos of the other artists and together soon!

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