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Title: 2004 Rockefeller New Media Foundation Proposal
Authors: Wight, Gail
Issue Date: 18-Dec-2006
Abstract: I have recently been invited to create a piece for an exhibit called 'The Brides of Frankenstein' curated by Marcia Tanner for the San Jose Museum of Art, California. This exhibit would coincide with a Bay Area Cyber Art Festival to open in late 2005. I'11 be creating a series of portraits for this exhibit, based on seven women who were practicing science just prior to and during the time of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. These portraits would also engage the current phenomenon of automatons - spectacular constructions of artificial humans. I believe that as social constructs, as spectacles, and as "monsters," women scientists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries shared much in common with these automatons. Most importantly, both were objects of a belief system that saw them as impostors, as threats, and as something less than fully human. These portraits would involve interactive video, incorporating audio with moving and still imagery accessed by touch screen, set into automaton-like armatures. They would be slightly larger than life, yet would evoke an ephemeral quality of existence. Hybrids of the human and mechanical, they would investigate eighteenth and nineteenth century concepts about women, science, machines, and their convergence.
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