Affectation Correspondence

Annabel Frearson


Book, 312 pp., language : English, publisher : Tombstone Press, London, ISBN : 978-0-9576756-1-2.
Materials: ink, paper

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. B 2029/522).

Literary synopsis

Affectation Correspondence is a work of science-fiction written using only words from Frankenstein (Mary Shelley, 1831). It is based on the concept of an underground feelings trader who has left the government feelings agency, Composure, to work freelance, generating and selling feelings on demand, including outmoded, archaic feelings, and those generated from non-human entities. The multiple feelings and potential sensational combinations are enumerated at length, detailing attainable physical extremes and culminating in an epic combinative catalogue. The process of feelings acquisition, known as ‘affectation correspondence’, takes place in a presence chamber, the mechanism of which is likened to a time bend wherein feelings enact a narcissistic self-encounter and endure the countenance of a thick moment, the yet, as expanded through language. Beyond the hedonism of pure, abstracted feelings, there is a wide market for the excess of by-product feelings generated. These have found value in commercial applications ranging from vintage feelings food; architecture and furnishings, including a multi-sensational fantasy bed; to clothing and perfume ranges; or even fuel. Arrested for illegal cell carrying from Rage Island, the last place available to experience genuine anger, our protagonist feelings trader has been temporarily expelled from Felix, the communication mainframe wherein old world language has been rendered redundant. Having endured the agonies of exile, the opportunity is seized to communicate with a different, past time, using the medium of an ancient text, Frankenstein.

Relation of the novel to the artist’s practice

Affectation Correspondence is part of a larger ongoing project called ‘Frankenstein2’ which comprises the reconfiguration of the entirety of Shelley’s Frankenstein (1831), using all and only the words from the original, into a new expanded novel and associated works. To date the project has taken the form of performed readings; an album of original pop songs (including combined reconfigurations of songs by David Bowie and Lady Gaga); a 35mm B&W film of movie titles; a pornographic short story; a Slimvolume poster edition; a Victorian publicity pamphlet; a review of ‘I, Frankenstein’ on Rotten Tomatoes website; a corporate PowerPoint presentation promoting a light industrial / biotech / life sciences park; an audio work; and a description of Max MSP software. The work is facilitated by a piece of bespoke software, Frankenwriter, and many of the projects are produced collaboratively, working with musicians, performers, film makers, and other artists.

In the re-writing of ‘Frankenstein’, Annabel Frearson is caught between the narrative that she wants to tell and the language available to tell it, and also her desire, at times, simply to expend words. Many of the texts include phonetic manipulations of words in an attempt to render a specific meaning; some texts (eg. ‘Justine Time by Lake, or, The Panegyric and the Into-Face’) are written entirely phonetically. In other texts, such as Affectation Correspondence, there are instances when the database comes to the fore as writing methodology.

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