The shorts in this series are adaptations of adaptations. These canonical creation texts—Frankenstein, The Stepford Wives, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and Asimov’s I, Robot—live again in an uneasy half-life between book and movie, word and image, silence and sound.
"Erich von Stroheim attempted a literal adaptation of Frank Norris’ novel “McTeague” in 1924 with his film, “Greed.” The resulting film was over sixteen hours long. A cut of the film only eight hours long, then one running to four hours, appeared. Finally the studio itself cut the film to around two hours, resulting in a finished product that was entirely incoherent. Since that time, few directors have been foolish enough to put everything in a novel into a film. Therefore, elision is nearly mandatory."
Intrigued by Erich von Stroheim’s dilemma, I decided to explore the process of adapting one form to another by literally inserting scenes from a movie into the book that inspired its making. In ReAdaptation: the book series I appropriate text, images, and sound from popular stories and readapt adaptations to consider how elision and incoherence challenge the narrative of a popular story, replete with its full slate of signifiers.
Culled from the science fiction genre, the subjects I have chosen to readapt—Jaws, Frankenstein, I Robot, The Stepford Wives, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? / Blade Runner—pit robots, mechanized creatures, or reanimated beings against human hopes, fears, and dreams of a better future. In ReAdaptation I delete, omit, and compress the narrative by using the book itself as the guide to the length of the new hybrid movie. The number of pages in the book determines the total running time. After analyzing the book and movie, I re-edit a few select seconds from the movie. I tape the selected images into the book thereby suppressing or covering up the written word. The book, with hundreds of new insertions, bulks up and mutates. Utilizing stop motion, a very primitive cinematic special effect, I animate this new altered object, giving birth to a creation that dwells amongst the robot, android, and misunderstood creature.