What have we learned from science's most infamous doctor-patient relationship?
Reanimation! is a seven-part, animated series on the lasting impact of Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein'
Reanimation! is a seven-part series created by seven animation teams and 12 scientists, writers, engineers, physicists, and an archaeologist, on the lasting impact of Shelley's famous work.
Each episode waxes poetic about different scientific, ethical, and philosophical domains and the lessons we've collectively learned from Dr. Frankenstein's mistakes and triumphs.
The series delves into the origins of life and consciousness, toolmaking, artificial intelligence, augmented bodies and minds, and the ethics of playing God.
This film was made in collaboration with Arizona State University's Frankenstein Bicentennial Project, MIT Press, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. It was created and produced by Harriet Bailey and Nadja Oertelt for Massive Science and Plympton Media. It was animated by a team of award-winning animators from around the world: Daniela Sherer, Angela Phillips and Phoebe Halstead, Rosanna Wan, Moth Studio, Amia Yokoyama, Joe Bichard, and Caitlin Craggs, with sound by the renowned team at Skillbard.
Episode 1: A Bolt of Lightning
Britt Wray, science communicator, co-host of BBC's Tomorrow's World, writer, and producer joins ecologist and biologist Ben Novak to discuss the permeable boundary between life and death – and humans and nature. Animated by the talented Daniela Sherer with sound by Skillbard.
Episode 2: Organization from Chaos
Sara Imari Walker, a theoretical physicist and astrobiologist at Arizona State University, and Caleb Scharf, an exoplanetary scientist and astrobiologist at Columbia University, discuss how intelligence and life may have emerged from chaos. We might not be able to recognize life other than our own, and this presents a philosophical and scientific challenge to humans in the universe. Animated by ARC, a beautiful animation studio created by Angela Phillips and Phoebe Halstead with sound by Skillbard.
Episode 3: A Spark of Consciousness
David Chalmers, renowned philosopher and cognitive scientist and Danbee Kim, a comparative neuroscientist, tease apart the complicated nature of behavior and its relationship to neural circuitry as well as the environment. What exactly makes us conscious and why? Animated by the amazing Rosanna Wan with sound by Skillbard.
Episode 4: Tools of Our Own
Have you ever wondered about the evolution of human tool use? How are Paleolithic stone tools related, cognitively, to the development of genetic engineering tools like CRISPR? Genevieve Dewar, a paleoanthropologist and archaeologist at the University of Toronto, and Kate Krueger, a molecular biologist and research director at the nonprofit New Harvest, explain some of the larger implications of our desire to mold the world around us. Wild and woolly stop-motion animation by Amia Yokoyama with sound by Skillbard.
Episode 5: Better Humans
Braden Allenby, an engineer and ethicist at Arizona State University and Conor Walsh, a biomedical engineer at Harvard and founder of the Harvard Biodesign Lab, discuss what our bodies might look like in the future. What does it mean to be human when we can use new tools to alter our phenotype? Is the use of engineering to change the human form new or are we simply using new methods to satisfy an evolutionary desire for change? With explosive animation by the animation team at Moth Studio, and sound by Skillbard.
Episode 6: Monsters in the Machine
What are the implications for humanity when we create intelligence, or try to, in non-human forms? Margaret Wertheim, author and historian of physics and math, discusses the implications of ignoring the ethics of AI. She is joined by Daniel Bear, a Stanford neuroscientist and AI researcher, and Braden Allenby, an engineer and ethicist. Animated by the cheeky Joe Bichard with sound by Skillbard.
Episode 7: Playing God
In the final animated poetic rumination of the implications of Frankenstein 'creating life,' Britt Wray, science communicator, Sara Imari Walker, theoretical physicist, and Genevieve Dewar, paleoanthropologist and archaeologist, discuss how open, ethical debates between researchers and the public are the only way forward when dealing with the unknown. With whirlwind animation by the stop-motion animator Caitlin Craggs and sound by Skillbard.
We're excited for Reanimated! to be exhibited publicly on Sunday, June 10 at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn, NY, as part of their Second Sundays series. The event is free and open to the public with an RSVP.