The Frankenstein Complex
Exhibit by Steven Gotzler, Jack Quirk, and Avery J. Wiscomb
Posner Center interns
Exhibit on display May 4 - November 30, 2018
Commemorating the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, the exhibit demonstrates the continuing relevance of Dr. Frankenstein and his monster to contemporary audiences by relating rare university holdings like the 1818 1st edition of the text, and documents in the history of science from pioneering figures such as Luigi Galvani to CMU's ongoing areas of scientific research including brain-computer interfaces, robotics, climate and energy decision making and artificial intelligence.
Examining these areas of contemporary research in light of the novel's much wider cultural legacy, the exhibit locates them within a wider nexus of 'complex' of ideas about the mind, the body, ideas of nature, ethical dilemmas, revolutions, and creators of all kinds. Ultimately, the goal is to encourage visitors to better understand how Frankenstein plays an important role in shaping our perceptions of the dangers of technological innovations run amok, but also how we continue to think about ourselves as humans.