Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts

2018 marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus. Featuring 19 Australian and international artists, HyperPrometheus, at Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA), explores the Frankensteinian persona in modern life.

Considered by some to be the first science fiction novel, Frankenstein is both a celebration and warning of the seductive powers and unforeseen outcomes of scientific advancement.

The selected artworks in HyperPrometheus: The Legacy of Frankenstein are drawn from experimental, contemporary and biological arts and tackle ideas of life and death, the creation of life, the reanimation of the non-living, synthetic biology, the technological non-human and the responsibility of creators.

These themes are combined with Timothy Morton’s notion of ‘hyperobjects’ – the monsters of the new millennium, of humanity’s own making. Hyperobjects are things like climate transformation, radiation and plastic pollution, which challenge assumptions of human mastery over planetary conditions.

HyperPrometheus engages with both real and represented life-forms – from mutants through to purpose-grown and assembled cellular organisms – and considers the nature of their being. There are speculations about the future of species, the kinds of life-forms that will emerge and be made and the dystopian environments they will inhabit.

Curated by Eugenio Viola, Laetitia Wilson and Oron Catts, HyperPrometheus comes 20 years after SymbioticA founders Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr presented their ground-breaking Tissue Culture & Art Project at PICA in 1998.

Two special club performances at Connections Nightclub on 7 & 8 December, cost $20.00. Justin Shoulder emerges as Carrion, a mythical chimeric creature, in a scintillating performance that compels us to consider post-human embodiment in a state of planetary disarray.

HyperPrometheus: The Legacy of Frankenstein will be open until 23 December at PICA, presented in partnership with SymbioticA, The University of Western Australia (UWA).

Carrion 1

Image: Justin Shoulder, Carrion. Photo: Alec Davies.