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    Full program online

    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.

    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!

    Regular ticket: €50 | Student ticket: €35

    Full program

    The story of Frankenstein describes a scientist who created an empathetic living being, evoking fear by those around him. The lack of empathy from his human companions unwillingly turns the creature into the monster others expect him to be. Frankenstein’s monstrous creature manifests the dark and bright side of humanity.

    The pursuit of knowledge and human ingenuity brought many possibilities, but it also comes with great responsibility. Looking at technological developments like artificial life, robotics and intelligent algorithms, we are on the verge of creating autonomous beings. As much as it creates excitement, the consequences are unknown to us. Will non-human agency outsmart humans in the future? And if so, what does this mean for society?

    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.

    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'.

    Performance: Perfect Paul: On freedom of facial expression by Arthur Elsenaar
    Digital persona Perfect Paul presents his 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. More info...

    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).

    Artist Talk by Nicolas Maigret
    Nicolas Maigret and Maria Roszkowska initiated, a collective that develops situations of disturbance, speculation and debate. With their situations they challenge the dominant ideology of technological innovation.

    Artist Talk by Sophie Rzepecky – Launch of Fictional Journal Issue 03. Uncanny
    As the co-founder and editor of Fictional Journal, Rzepecky will present Fictional Journal’s third edition Uncanny. Uncanny is developed in collaboration with Baltan Laboratories, featuring a diverse mix of contributions reflecting on AI and the complex relation between creator and creation.

    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? Read more...

    Ruben Baart from Next Nature Network will moderate the day.

    Frankenstein exhibition
    The Frankenstein Exhibition raises questions about the responsibility we have towards technology. And showing us the unlimited possibilities. The installations at the exhibition emphasize the (potential) learning mechanisms of technology and question whether or not AI and robotics soon will make decisions for us, with us or against us? The exhibition is accessible for free and features work by WE ARE DATA, Quintus Glerum, Arthur Elsenaar, Fictional Journal and Bureau Moeilijke Dingen. Full program...

    The Frankenstein symposium is organized by Baltan Laboratories and Robot Love during the Dutch Design Week.

    • With your Frankenstein Symposium ticket you get a 20% discount on your entrance ticket for the Robot Love exhibition.
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