Allison Cobb

'It has a place for me as living'

On Susan Landers's 'Franklinstein'

Photo courtesy of Natasha Dwyer.

Franklinstein began as a mash-up of two classic US texts: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and Gertrude Stein’s The Making of Americans. It was an inspired move, to juxtapose the plainspoken, aphoristic words of a founding father with the modernist novel written by a Jewish, lesbian expat who sought to dismantle and redefine concepts of “the new world” and literature itself.

R.U. Sirius

The dog door to the observatory projecting a live-feed of Sirius
The dog door on the observatory projecting a live-feed of the dog star Sirius from a telescope mounted on the roof of The Franklin Institute. From Demetrius Oliver's installation, Canicular, at The Print Center in Philadelphia.

It is not every day that after your science-informed literary reading, you, the other writers who read science-informed work, and the audience for the event climb through a dog door into a small, astronomical observatory that was constructed in the art gallery where the reading took place to see a live-feed projection of the dog star Sirius — the brightest star in the night sky and so nicknamed due to its containment in the constellation, Canis Major — from a telescope mounted on the roof of a nearby science education center.

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