Frankenstein AI

Inspired by the 200th anniversary of Shelley’s seminal text, this participatory installation explores our relationship to the ubiquitous and emerging technology of artificial intelligence. Participants are prompted to reveal their memories, emotions, fears, and hopes to an AI while it attempts to learn about humanity from those who participate.

Over the next two years, Lance, Nick Fortugno and Rachel Ginsberg along with over 2,000 global collaborators will design, build and run an immersive adaption of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Lance is leading the experience design and serving as the program’s creative director/producer. The goal of Frankenstein AI is to challenge the authorship and ownership of stories while also utilizing literature, story and code in an effort to better understand the implications of emergent technologies. Together participants from around the globe will utilize AI, machine learning, robotics, bioengineering and the Internet of Things to create a monster made by many.

Status: Now Touring (interested in bringing the project to a festival, museum or event please contact us)

Type of Project: immersive theatre, installation and collaborative storytelling

Emergent Technology: AI, IoT, Projection Mapping, Algorithmic visual, audio and movement systems

My Role: Executive Producer, Creative Director, and Experience Designer

PressIndieWireVergeFilmmaker Magazine

Stats: Developed and produced in collaboration with the Columbia University School of the Arts’ Digital Storytelling Lab

To date 400+ hours of machine learning to train the AI

The project developed visual, audio and movement systems that are algorithmically controlled

Upwards of 2,000 people experienced the project at the Sundance Film Festival and IDFA Doc Lab where it was in competition.

 

 

What People are Saying

“Frankenstein AI: A Monster Made by Many intelligently updates Mary Shelley’s tale based on modern fears about artificial intelligence. The main installation was one of my favorite parts of Sundance’s New Frontier lineup; it culminates in a large, glowing screen — the titular monster — asking AI-generated questions to audience members, then using their responses to evolve. (One of my session’s: “Why do humans like having sex, even though they can see in color?”) But a one-time performance also added a live dancer (Jacinda Ratcliffe) who worked in tandem with the machine. Her movements were choreographed beforehand, and whenever the AI analyzed a set of answers, it would formulate a “mood” that affected her dance, delivering the information via earpiece. I still have no idea how intelligent or monstrous the AI actually is, and how much it’s just a device for heightening our awareness of physical human interactions — which is arguably one of the most interesting things about the project.”

 

“Perhaps the most ambitious piece at New Frontier, A.I. or otherwise, was the multifaceted transmedia work “Frankenstein AI: A Monster Made by Many” by Rachel Ginsberg, Nick Fortugno and Lance Weiler. Billed as a “participatory installation and performance,” the total experience, which will tour this fall, spanned over two hours and involved elements of theater, dance, collaborative storytelling, philosophy, Mary Shelley and, of course, artificial intelligence.”
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