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Digital Frankensteins: The Post-organic Bodies of Digital Animation

Hawley, E. (2011) Digital Frankensteins: The Post-organic Bodies of Digital Animation. In: Diegetic Life Forms II: Creative arts practice and new media scholarship, 3 - 5 September 2010, Murdoch University, Western Australia pp. 1-16.

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In 1818, Mary Shelley wrote a story about post-organic presence. Most of us know this story reasonably well: Victor Frankenstein, a student of the sciences, discovers how to create artificial life; he animates his monster, a fragmented and hideous being, then abandons him in disgust and horror; the monster wreaks vengeance. This is a story about the tension between nature and technology, organism and machine, beauty and monstrosity, birth and construction; above all, as Anne K. Mellor points out, the novel Frankenstein “is profoundly concerned with natural as opposed to un-natural modes of production and reproduction”.1 In writing this tale, Shelley was drawing from myths and stories that were much older. Indeed, Shelley’s Frankenstein takes its place in a long line of stories that can be traced back to the ancient Greek myths of Prometheus and Pygmalion – stories that articulate a cultural fascination with the act of techno-production in its oldest sense.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Media, Communication and Culture
Publisher: National Academy of Screen and Sound
Copyright: © IM/NASS 2011.
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