Præternatural is an interactive CD ROM divided into two areas. The first is a genealogy, exploring the role of the monster in Western culture from the 17th century to the middle of the 20th century. The intention is to establish the significance of the monstrous in its relationship to, and perception of the body and paradigms of medicine and science. Its articulation reflects a larger understanding of the body based on a particular belief system - one that is an intermeshing of the cultural, medical and scientific.
The second area of Praeternatural addresses a contemporary contextulisation of the monstrous, specifically in relation to its absence or phasing out, via the use of genetic screening. Taking further the current relations between science, medicine and the body, it explores not only at the absence of the monster, but the absence of the body itself from these contemporary biotechnological discourses. In particular, I will focus on developments within genetics as these relate to attempts to abolish the monstrous and its corporealities.
The interactive covers an expansive period of time; from the seventeenth century through to the present. It is not designed to be a textbook-accurate historical and contemporary account of the monstrous, but rather a critical genealogy that is based on myth, perception and overall, the concerns of a given society at a given time. Inevitably, it is designed to critique contemporary attitudes towards notions of bodily and physical acceptability.