This is a continuation of the thoughts at the end of the previous post on the uncanny as a concept for my project.

Upon further reading and thinking, it becomes clear that the uncanny relies on personal experience, so is not clearly definable. So as I see my project as being uncanny, it doesn’t mean that others will see it in this way - but I suppose its impossible to cater for everyone.

Freud and Jentsch both argue that the animation of inanimate objects is uncanny, and occurs when the boundary between animate and inanimate objects becomes confused. For example when objects imitate life, blurring the cultural, psychological and material boundaries between life and death. This explains the uncanniness of zombies and ghosts. But I don’t believe that it had to be about life and death, it can be blurring different boundaries, say physical and digital? Real and simulated? I suppose this is why humanoid robots are quite uncanny (You know the creepy Japanese ones with skin and terrifying expressions). All of this leads back to my idea of glitchy sculptures being uncanny. The glitch brings the calm, motionless sculptures to life in a very chaotic and confusing fashion. It blurs the boundaries between digital and physical media and makes us question the reality of what is before us. On a deeper level, as previously mentioned, it blurs the boundary between the real and simulated in how the sculpture is appearing to glitch, but also in the fact that the glitches themselves are simulated (but the audience shouldn’t know this).

I stumbled across some somewhat similar work by New Media artist, Antonio Roberts which he did as part of the Uncanny Valley event in 2015. In short, his work involved projecting glitch art onto natural objects, exploring the interaction between the projection and the uneven surfaces. What I find the most interesting about this is the vibrant, digital looking colours contrasted with the natural forms and textures. It raises questions about the nature of and interaction between the physical and digital, which can be quite uncanny and uncomfortable. I’ve included a couple of photos taken from Roberts’ Flickr from the event, so credit goes to him for those.

Uncanny Valley

Uncanny Valley