Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Pirate Cove scene

Finished my pirate cove scene from lesson 1 ready for blogging at last!! It didnt take long and managed to whizz through it and yeah im proud of myself for finally getting the hang of it, co it is me after all!!! :)

Monday, 7 December 2009


So, after the in depth research about death and the uncanny, i remembered Phil in the last lecture saying about the breaking of a mirror and people's beliefs in this linking with the dead. Mirrors and shadows are uncanny objects- the reflections you see are familiar they're you- what could be more familiar? But there's always that doubt of whether it's the real you and whether if you look in one in the dark or glance away for a second, will the reflection change?

(sorry the image isnt great :S)

popular beliefs- mirrors

  • The breaking of a mirror is said to mean 7 years bad luck and some people associate it also with the death in the family within the following year. The Ancient Romans believed that life renewed itself every 7 years; If the person looking in the mirror was ill of health, their image would break the mirror and the run of bad luck would continue for 7 years, at the end of which, their life owuld be renewed, ending the curse.

  • poeple also believed that the reflection of themselves in the mirror was their soul or spirit. In Ancient times, it was said that mirrors had magical powers, including the power to fortell the future and were considered to be the devices of the gods. Therefore, the breaking of a mirror would end its powers and result in untold miseries and misfortunes upon the one whose reflectio it last held. Though there were plenty of totally crazy 'remedies' that were thought to break the curse.

Some other mirror superstitions are:

-Never see your face in a mirror by candlelight, it is unlucky to do so.
- If you stare into a mirror by candlelight you might see the spirit of a loved one who has passed away.
- Always cover a mirror during a thunderstorm as it is unlucky to see reflected lightning.
- It is considered a bad omen to receive a mirror as a present.
- If a mirror in the house falls and breaks on its own, someone in the house will die soon.
- Many families cover a mirror if someone dies, as they believe that the mirror will capture the dead person’s soul, thus preventing its entry into heaven. It is believed that the Devil invented mirrors for this purpose.
- And if someone sees their reflection in a room where someone has recently died, they will die soon too.
- It is said that if your soul wanders during the night, a mirror can capture it. Thus some people avoid having mirrors in the bedroom or cover them before sleeping.
- A bride should never see herself in a mirror while fully dressed just before the wedding.
- Also, as seen in movies, vampires have no reflection. This is because it is said that when you see your image, you are in fact seeing your soul and vampires don’t have one.

These factors are ones that I will think about when creating my ideas for the tableaux vivants as they give atmospheric images in your mind, the candlelight one in particular would create an uncanny envrionment. Ive thought about trying out with scenes as if I'm the spirit/soul behind the broken mirror, distorting the room, though i will create some thumbnails to see if this will work.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Julia Kristeva's theory of 'the abject'

After posting a little something on the uncanny, doubling and death, the topic began to take a deeper turn and Phil suggested that i look at Julia Kristeva's theory of 'the abject.'

The abject is outside the 'symbolic order,' and being forced to face it is an inherently traumatic experience. For example, when coming face to face with a corpse, a person would almost certainly be repulsed by it because they have been forced to face and object which has been cast out of the cultural world, having once been a subject. To confront a corpse that is recognised as a human (something that should be alive, but isnt) is to confront the reality that we are capable of existing in the same fate.

The abject/ abjection is our reaction to the threatened breakdown in meaning caused by the loss of distinction between the subject and object or by self and other.

Kristeva associates the abject with the eruption of The Real into our lives. She particularly associates this reponse with our rejection of death's materiality. Kristeva is careful to differentiate between the knowledge or the meaning of death, from the traumatic experience of acutally being confronted with the materiality that traumatically shows you your own death.

As Kristeva puts it, "The corpse, seen without God and outside of science, is the utmost of abjection. It is death infecting life. Abject."

The 'Abject,' for Kristeva is closely related to religion- the various means of purifying the abject , make up the history of religions.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

The uncanny and dolls

I also decided to look at the uncanny and dolls. As a child, many girls have an obsession with playing with dolls and making up games to play with them, almost making them real in our imagination. It was a little while after I grew out of the whole girly phase, when dolls were just eerie to me. I remember my nan having a doll in my room at her house and i would always ask her if she could remove it from my bedroom when i went up to bed- there was just something about it that didnt seem quite right to me- but it was just the dolls piercing eyes + the dark, that uncanny feeling.

i stumbled across this website when i was reasearching the uncanny and dolls- there was a lot of relevant information on it and videios so it will be better for me to provide the website

The uncanny, death and doubling

I was researching online and i found this little passage that i thought was also quite interesting. I didn't want to break it down so am just going to paste it because it will explain it in more detail:

"According to Freud, the phenomenon that would later be called the uncanny valley stems from a primitive attempt of humans to skirt death and secure our own immortality by creating copies of ourselves—such as wax figures and, later, life-like robots. He quotes his colleague Otto Rank in saying that this “doubling” behavior is “an energetic denial of the power of death” and suggests the idea of the immortal soul was the first double of the body.

Our uncanny response follows from the fact that most of us no longer believe we can secure our own immortality by making copies of ourselves, but we haven’t yet shaken the primitive habit of trying to do so. The sad consequence of this is that, in Freud’s words, “The double reverses its aspect. From having been an assurance of immortality, it becomes the uncanny harbinger of death.” The copies we feel compelled to make only serve to remind us why we began making them in the first place: We are, inevitably, going to die."

The Uncanny

The uncanny basically refers to a situation where something can be familiar but strange at the same time. According to Freud's description, the uncanny 'derives its terrror not from something externally alien or unknown, but from something strangely familiar, which defeats our effofrts to separate ourselves from it.'

The Uncanny Valley

The Uncanny Valley was created by Masahiro Mori. It mostly concerns the design of humanoid robots. The theory is that the closer a robot resembles a human, the more critical we become of it and tend to reject robots that look more like people, like Sonny from I-Robot. If we go far enough away from the humanoid, then we much more readily accept the robot as familiar, like C3PO, R2D2, Wall-E etc- these all act like humans but don't look like them.

Doppelganger is a word that crops up, basically meaning somethings double Tehere are many connections which teh double has with situations such as :-
  • Reflections in mirrors
  • Shadows
  • Guardian Spirits
  • belief in the soul
  • fear of death.

It is said that many people experience the feeling of the uncanny in the highest degree, in relation to death and dead bodies, to the return of the dead and to spirits and ghosts. This is because the fear of the dead is still so strong within us.

I found this little quote, "All supposedly educated people have ceased to believe officially that the dead can become visible as spirits, and have made any such appearances dependent on improbable and remote conditions; their emotional attitude towards their dead, moreover, once a highly ambiguous and ambivalent one, has been toned down in the higher strata of the mind into an unambiguous feeling of piety."

I think this is something that I would like to touch upon in my project.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Unit 3: Environment

Personally, im going to say, 'new project- new start.' After lots of trouble with the last project, I would like to say that this new project may help me to prove my capabilities and show the hardworking me.

so, to begin the project, i thought it would be best to write some basic notes on the key terms for reference, so i dont make the mistake of forgetting the whole point in the project like last time.

Tableaux Vivants

online dictionary definition: 'A scene presented on stage by contumed actors who remain silent and motionless as if in a picture.'

  • 'a picture' formed by living people caught in static attitudes
  • combines the art forms of theatre with painting and also photography
  • defined by theire motionlessness, tableaux vivants convey meaning through theire 'mise-en-scene.'


  • This is a french term for the staging/visual arrangement of a dramatic production. it is also used in film- making for the stageing of the action in front of the camera

dicitionary definition

  • The arrangement of performers and properties on a stage for a theatrical production or before the camera in a film.
  • A stage setting/scenery of a play/film
  • physical environment; surroundings