Quite Frankly
It’s a Monster Conference

17-19 October 2018
The University of Western Australia
Event Cost: $485 (full) | $420 (Student, Concessions)
Single day: $250 (full) | $200 (Student, Concessions)
Register here
Conference program

Quite Frankly is a conference that seeks to understand the legacy and continuing influence of Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus on life, culture and technology. 2018 marks 200 years since the publication of Mary (Godwin) Shelley’s Frankenstein. Shelley’s Creature is usually conceived as a human creation: a stitched-together, tragic victim of scientific and technological experimentation. Quite Frankly seeks to rupture these stitches, revealing that the Creature is more than the sum of its parts. SymbioticA and Somatechnics join forces to present Quite Frankly: It’s a Monster Conference. They invite you to explore the dynamic ecosystems evolving within and from the gaps between the Creature’s fragments.

Quite Frankly invites explorations that (re)form kinships and provide niches of refuge and asylum for explorations at the limits of precarity. We encourage liberations of Frankenstein’s Creature from its anthropocentric singularity to an intra-active entanglement; from the living-dead to the compost-able. We revel in re-craftings of biotechnical industrialisations and commodifications and managerial aesthetics. As Karen Barad reminds us, “the political potential does not stop with regeneration, for there are other wild dimensions within and without that rage with possibilities.”

Join us to unpick the Creature’s stitches and liberate its companion species – we are calling for all voices to provide critical re-examinations of diverse re-creation stories.

Keynote Speakers

Karen Barad

Feminist Studies, Philosophy, and History of Consciousness
The University of California at Santa Cruz
UCSC website

The European Graduate School,
EGS website

Karen Barad is Professor of Feminist Studies, Philosophy, and History of Consciousness at the University of California at Santa Cruz. Barad’s Ph.D. is in theoretical particle physics and quantum field theory. Barad held a tenured appointment in a physics department before moving into more interdisciplinary spaces. Barad is the author of Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning (Duke University Press, 2007) and numerous articles in the fields of physics, philosophy, science studies, poststructuralist theory, and feminist theory. Barad’s research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Hughes Foundation, the Irvine Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Barad is the Co-Director of the Science & Justice Graduate Training Program at UCSC. Barad received an honorary doctorate from Gothenburg University in 2016, and is on the faculty of the European Graduate School.


Ambelin Kwaymullina

Assistant Professor,
The Law School at The University of Western Australia

Keynote Talk:
Respect, relationships, renewal: Indigenous perspectives on the worlds of tomorrow

Ambelin Kwaymullina is an Aboriginal law academic, illustrator and speculative fiction writer. Her dystopian Young Adult series, The Tribe, is a work of Indigenous Futurisms, a form of storytelling whereby Indigenous creators use the speculative fiction genre to challenge colonialism and imagine Indigenous futures. Ambelin’s academic and creative work is grounded in her standpoint as a Palyku woman, and as such, she understands reality to be holistic, non-linear and animate in nature. Ambelin works across the academic, business and literary sectors to explore the means by which non-Indigenous peoples can ethically engage with Indigenous peoples so as to create the as-yet unrealised possibility of a just future.

Fiona Wood

The Burns Service of Western Australia

Winthrop Professor
School of Medicine at the University of Western Australia

Keynote Talk: The Goal of Regeneration

Winthrop Professor Fiona Wood is a Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon specialising in the field of burn care, trauma and scar reconstruction. Wood is the Director of the WA Burns Service of Western Australia and a Consultant Plastic Surgeon at Princess Margaret Hospital and Fiona Stanley Hospital. Her research through the Burn Injury Research Unit UWA and the Fiona Wood Foundation is focused on scarless healing. In bringing basic science to the bedside the aim is to build a unique capacity to facilitate direct research collaborations between researchers and practitioners across basic science, population health, clinical care and clinical outcomes. Fiona Wood has also been involved in a number of education and disaster response programmes associated with her interest in burns and has presented and published a variety of papers over the years. Fiona and Marie Stoner, co-founders of Clinical Cell Culture, now Avitamedical, won the 2005 Clunies Ross Award for their contributions to Medical Science in Australia. Wood received the honour of being named Australian of the Year in 2005.

Kira O’Reilly

Ecology and Contemporary Performance at the Theatre Academy
University of the Arts Helsinki

Keynote Talk:
Unseam’ed, A performed assemblage of utterances, sighs and breaths

Kira O’Reilly is an artist currently based in Helsinki where she leads a pilot masters programme in Ecology and Contemporary Performance at the Theatre Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki. Her practice, both wilfully interdisciplinary and entirely undisciplined, stems from a visual art background; it employs performance, drawing, makings, biotechnical practices and writing with which to consider speculative reconfigurations around The Body. But she is no longer sure if she even does that anymore. She writes, teaches, mentors and collaborates with humans of various kinds, technologies and non-humans of numerous divergences including mosses, spiders, the sun, pigs, cell cultures, horses, micro-organisms, bicycles, rivers, landscapes, tundras, rocks, trees, shoes, food, books, air, lichen, green glitter, moon and ravens.

Since graduating from the University of Wales Institute Cardiff in 1998 her work has been exhibited widely throughout the UK, Europe, Australia, China and Mexico. She has presented at conferences and symposia on both live art and science, art and technology interfaces. She has been a visiting lecturer in the UK, Australia and U.S.A in visual art, drama and dance. A monograph on her practice, Kira O’Reilly: Untitled Bodies was published winter 2017 in the Intellect Live Series by Live Art Development Agency and Intellect Books.



Unhallowed Arts