Share Festival Frankenstein
Bruce Sterling: “What can we say about Share Festival in its 13th edition? We can proudly claim that we are endlessly inventive, and that we persist! We are harder to kill than an unnatural monster who returns for an endless set of movie sequels. By choosing “Frankenstein: il moderno Prometeo” as our theme for 2018, we dare to compare our technology art festival to a 200 year old literary classic. “Frankenstein” is a work of fiction by a young woman who left her own country, travelled through Italy in search of romantic freedom, and was challenged by a great poet to describe the scariest, darkest thing that she could possibly imagine. What she imagined, and described in her pages, was a triumph of technology with its roots in cruel classical myth. It was this continuity of the past with the future that brought Mary Shelley such immortal fame. At Share Festival, we think of ourselves as a high-tech, forward-looking, technically advanced, international festival that nevertheless has deep, dark, all-enduring and endlessly fruitful Italian roots. We’re a digital cultural network that’s like an ancient Piedmontese grape vine, with activist volunteers who bottle a vintage once a year. In this episode of our festival we raise our pitchforks and pursue our mythic fears, by torchlight, into the full light of day. Join us as we stampede toward tomorrow!”
Jasmina Tešanovic: Two hundred years ago this year, “Frankenstein” was first published. The author kept herself anonymous, so that no one would guess that she was a radical teenage feminist who had run off to Italy. Victor Frankenstein is a bright Swiss college student with a private lab. Victor secretly hacks dead bodies and builds a giant. One dark night, Victor “infuses the spark of being” into his superhuman creation. But “Frankenstein’s Monster” never gets a name. He does have a mother — Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley — but he has never had any legal identity, not for two hundred years. Illegal, unethical, penniless and not even human, he’s the ultimate clandestine refugee. This Nameless One has no family, no friends and no legal papers. He’s a citizen of nowhere, lurching off the design table into a troubled, fragmented world of epic Greek mythic passions and torch-and-pitchfork mob riots. The Nameless One wanders the globe. He listens and learns by spying on people. Often he does free favors, and even works hard for no pay. Yet despite all these conveniences, people never trust the Monster. He exists; he grows ever bolder, stronger and more capable; but he can never really be one of us. When he “friends” people, the alien becomes even less human. He becomes a troll; he rants, rages, demands a female soul-mate, and plots cruel reprisals on innocent brides. Those who know him best are the ones who dread him worst. Must the Modern Prometheus suffer for his gift of fire? Must he be chased down with torches by an angry and panicking user-base? Will Silicon Valley ever have a Hollywood happy ending? SHARE FESTIVAL XIII is about the many powerful entities mankind has built, that are active among us, huge, strong, unloved, scary, mythic and Romantically tragic. They are alive! — but we are the children of Mary Shelley, and of Byron’s daughter Ada Lovelace. What about them — and what about us?