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Frankenstein Symposium

in Natlab by Baltan Laboratories
A different price applies for this event (35 - 50 euro). This is due to the exclusivity of the event. Get ticket here.

The Frankenstein symposium addresses the responsibility that comes with great scientific breakthroughs. As a modern-day Prometheus, the symposium challenges us to rethink the ethics of future emerging technology in today’s society. How can the pursuit of scientific knowledge influence or even endanger humanity? To what extent do we own our creations? What can we learn from the non-human other? Should we give fire to the other, just like Prometheus did when he stole fire from the gods? Or Doctor Frankenstein, when he made a living creature, playing a godlike scientist?

Expect a full-day program with mind boggling presentations, inspiring performances and a lively public debate. Tickets available now!

The iconic novel 'Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus' by Mary Shelley was published exactly 200 years ago. The story depicts Doctor Frankenstein who fails to act upon the destructive consequences of his own creature. The Frankenstein Symposium explores our paradoxical relationship with science and the importance of the Humanities in this debate. With a series of inspiring talks and performances, a narrative is depicted about how science can transform the world, but also how it can lead to human ignorance, superstition and prejudice.

Program: First names announced

Performance 'Eingeweide' by Marco Donnarumma in collaboration with Margherita Pevere.

After the world premiere at the Romaeuropa Festival 'Eingeweide' will be performed for the first time in the Netherlands at the Frankenstein Symposium.Eingeweide is a ritual about the process of two unstable bodies growing together to form one system. Two human performers and an artificially intelligent prosthesis perform a choreographic struggle of unity and transformation, bending sensuality and symbolism. What does it mean to create a machine that is truly and fully autonomous, independent from human control? And what happens when a machine becomes part of a human body?

Also on our program:

Lecture by Martijntje Smits - Not innocent, not guilty: Frankensteins lessons for a new politics of tools

Lecture by Jason Robert - Frankenstein at 200: How to love our monsters?

Performance: Perfect Paul: On freedom of facial expression by Arthur Elsenaar.

Performance 'Eingeweide' by Marco Donnarumma in collaboration with Margherita Pevere

Eingeweide is a ritual about the process of two unstable bodies growing together to form one system. Two human performers and an artificially intelligent prosthesis perform a choreographic struggle of unity and transformation, bending sensuality and symbolism. What does it mean to create a machine that is truly and fully autonomous, independent from human control? And what happens when a machine becomes part of a human body?

Artist and scholar Marco Donnarumma distinguished himself by his use of emerging technology to deliver artworks that are at once intimate and powerful, oneiric and uncompromising. Working with biotechnology, biophysical sensing, as well as artificial intelligence (AI) and neurorobotics, Donnarumma expresses the imaginary nature of the body with a new and unsettling intensity. He holds a Ph.D. in performing arts, computing and body theory from Goldsmiths, University of London, and is currently a Research Fellow at the Berlin University of the Arts in partnership with the Neurorobotics Research Lab Berlin.

With a fascination for organic processes, artist and researcher Margherita Pevere investigates biological and technological matter. In installations, performances, visual works, collections of plant and animal relics, and collaborations with bacterial cultures, her practice combines scientific protocols with intense and sophisticated aesthetics. Pevere is a PhD Candidate in Artistic Research at Aalto University, Helsinki, in collaboration with Biofilia Laboratory – Base for biological arts.

Lecture by Martijntje Smits - Not innocent, not guilty: Frankensteins lessons for a new politics of tools

(dr. ir.) Martijntje Smits is a technology philosopher, engineer and innovation scientist. She worked at multiple universities, TNO and the Rathenau Institute on a range of topics from plastic waste and recycling to robotics and human enhancement. In her work she explores technological futures. Smits is the author of 'Taming monsters: The cultural domestication of new technology' (2002). Her book about the relevance of Frankenstein for today’s political technology agenda, will be published later this year.

Performance 'Perfect Paul: On freedom of facial expression' by Arthur Elsenaar

Digital persona Perfect Paul presents Elsenaar’s latest research findings on the external controlled human face as a site for artistic computational expression. Perfect Paul – in a live show down of computer versus human facial choreographic capabilities – unveils an as yet unknown expressive potential of the human facial hardware and discusses its political ramifications.

Arthur Elsenaar is an artist, electrical engineer and facial hacker. Since 1993, Elsenaar has investigated the computer-controlled human face as a site for artistic expression. He holds a Ph.D. in Art and Design from Nottingham Trent University in the UK. Elsenaar’s work has been shown at Ars Electronica, ISEA, DEAF, SIGGRAPH and MIT Media Lab. He is also a teacher at ArtScience at The Royal Academy of Art, The Hague (KABK).

Lecture by Jason Robert - Frankenstein at 200: How to love our monsters?

Jason Robert is a bioethicist and philosopher of biology. His research is based on the question of what is ‘good’ science – that is, science that is both efficacious and ethical. He works in biological/biomedical science and ethics, to explore the complexity of biological and moral systems. Robert holds the Lincoln Chair in Ethics, is director of the Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics at Arizona State University and is Dean’s Distinguished Professor in Life Sciences. He has published on topics such as stem cell biology, translational research, evolutionary and developmental biology, and genetics, with a particular focus on the neurosciences. He is also one of the editors of the recently published 'Frankenstein. Annotated for Scientists, Engineers, and Creators of all Kinds'.

Artist Talk by Nicolas Maigret

Artist Talk by Sophie Rzepecky

Baltan initiates experimentation on the crossroads of art, design, science and technology, evoking inquisitive ideas and insights by bridging the gaps between disciplines. The lab functions as a collaborative mindset and network, connecting curious individuals and organisations. By placing art and design research at the core of its activities, Baltan explores the implications, promises and pitfalls of our technological society. Baltan translates these ideas into different outputs, including collaborations, events, workshops, storytelling, publications and expos, creating a space for reflection, research and experimentation.

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