Thursday, 3 December 2009

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.

1 comment:

  1. Evening Jade - great that you're getting to grips with the nitty-gritty of the Freud essay... don't be intimidated by the stuff you can't follow, just get your head around the stuff you can - and then your understanding will ripple out from there...