Frankenstein business cards

A selection from an edition of 7,064 business cards, each bearing a unique, hand-written word from Frankenstein (Shelley, 1831) and its frequency of occurrence.

ANNABEL FREARSON, Frankenstein business card: me, 2022, Cubitt
ANNABEL FREARSON, Frankenstein business card: me (verso), 2022, Cubitt



This work forms part of my ongoing project Frankenstein2, which aims to reconfigure the entirety of Mary Shelley's 1831 edition of Frankenstein, using all and only the words from the original to re-create an expanded novel of contemporary writings and artworks, including an album of pop songs; a pornographic vignette; a film of movie titles; a science fiction novella. The Frankenstein business cards sit alongside my recent Frankenstein economy audio work (2022) that explores the interrelationship of landscape, economy, and data (exhibited in a solo exhibition at ohrenhoch, Berlin).

The cards are printed on two sides using a Risograph digital stencil duplicator, which individually layers the five colours, resulting in natural variations in registration. The cards are (optionally) mounted on sculpted Staedtler Mars plastic erasers, which can be wall or surface mounted.

Riso printing by Duplikat Press on Munken Lynx Smooth 300gsm card, using vegetable-based inks.

The Frankenstein business cards have been designed as miniature ('in-your-pocket') visual-verbal Gothico-Romantic landscapes, inspired by a combination of seventeeth-century Salvator Rosa paintings and the largest volcanic eruption of human history in 1815 Indonesia, the ash from which caused severe weather disruption as far as Europe, and starvation from the lost summer, when the Shelleys were staying with Lord Byron in Switzerland and Mary conceived Frankenstein.

The words on the (orange/pink) back of the cards, all derived from Frankenstein, are chained one to the other through an elision of letters, over which I have also dispersed my name, invoking my doctorate title not only in the manner of business cards but also with a nod to the original novel's eponymous co-protagonist, Dr Victor Frankenstein, whose piecing together of bodily fragments is mirrored through my treatment of Frankenstein's textual body.

The cards are mounted on blocks of sculpted white Staedtler erasers; allegorical ice chunks, untethered on a ruinous sea, forming improvised list poems, and pointing to my process as editor. The Staedtler company was notably also formed in the 1830s and these 'Mars 256' erasers are particularly malleable.

Now largely superceded by networked digital media, business cards enact an aesthetic material transaction, a microcosmic token of a person's being, projected through their personal or institutional function and brand, as hyperbolically represented in the postmodern gothic American Psycho (Ellis, 1991), in which the pseudo individuation of his colleagues' business cards incites city trader Bateman to extreme bodily violence.

Frankenstein business cards figure a realm in which words themselves are traded as commodities, each one being presented for sale at a different price, set by the artist between £0.02 and £141.28.

Made with support from University of Reading School of Art.


Frankenstein business cards: Cubitt collection presented for sale as part of the Cubitt 30 fundraiser exhibition at Victoria Miro, 16-17 Sept 2022, and online at

abortion  £141.28
adjacent  £98.48
ah  £122.08
anon  £138.92
babe  £140.10
banker  £139.96
become  £138.62
bent  £123.44
blamable  £75.14
blot  £112.34
cheat  £83.22
declined  £63.74
distraction  £101.10
doomed  £139.90
dross  £131.90
Elizabeth  £137.12
entitled  £78.00
European  £120.72
failure  £136.98
favourite  £125.48
fertile  £87.26
full-toned  £88.88
giver  £140.42
harmless  £72.90
ill-looking  £107.94
itself  £141.02
John  £120.30
licked  £94.74
lifeless  £110.74
long  £137.22
M  £100.70
me  £140.50
miserable  £141.12
muscle  £126.46
opaque  £131.44
orb  £130.30
orphan  £111.00
peasant  £99.98
polluted  £78.26
right  £139.20
self  £138.08
Slough  £56.10
stranger  £113.56
stupid  £139.62
sublime  £87.20
symmetry  £120.02
Thursday  £98.70
transcendent  £46.22
trash  £140.74
truth  £118.44
uncommon  £79.56
unmingled  £134.74
usual  £126.08
what  £140.20
worm  £137.68
yours  £133.58


Frankenstein business cards complete price list pdf (draft)