Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Forlatt hus, Åmdalen

"The house provided an especially favored site for uncanny disturbances: its apparent domesticity, its residue of family history and nostalgia, its role as the last and most intimate shelter of private comfort sharpened by contrast the terror of invasion by alien spirits." p.17 Vidler, Anthony. The Architectural Uncanny. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1992.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


found treasure, originally uploaded by agnisflugen.

"I can see the head"

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Call for Papers

Uncanny Media: The Gothic Shadows of Mediation

Interdisciplinary conference, artistic Salon and Gothic event hosted by the Department of Media and Cultural Studies at Utrecht University in the Netherlands 7-9 August 2008

Confirmed keynotes: Fred Botting • Steven Bruhm • Jeffrey Sconce

To tell a story is always to invoke ghosts. The act of narration, by nature, invites the spectres of the past, and is haunted by long-hidden anxieties or desires. The uncanny is an indispensable part of storytelling; it is the unrepresented lurking behind presentation, the unknown saliently present in the known. Nor is it only literature that is uncannily destabilized by its own technology; indeed, every act of mediation, be it textual, visual or auditory, evokes a Gothic conflation of overlapping temporalities and realities.

Examples of uncanny mediation are as numerous as they are varied. David Lynch has experimented with the uneasy borders between mediation and reality in the dreamlike topology of his films; Patrick McGrath allows the voice of past trauma to simultaneously narrate and haunt the literary present; rock bands from Bauhaus to Apoptygma Berzerk employ music technology to lend the ghosts of the Goth a voice; daily life has acquired a spectral dimension through the virtual ‘absent presence’ of wireless technology; and, like many other emblems of the uncanny, Dracula has been renarrated, remediated and re-enacted in film, literature, and computer games.

How can we describe the uncanny agency of media in such phenomena? To what extent does the book, the camera, the iPod, or the computer invite ghosts, create a voyeur, or a doppelganger? How does this shadow side of mediation influence our perception of the Real, the virtual, the unconscious, the Self? And what happens when the uncanny itself is mediated? Can we create spectral reflections of the spectre, a hyperreality of the simulacrum?

This conference aims to raise interdisciplinary discussions regarding mediation and uncanniness. Papers on both historical and contemporary topics are welcome. Possible themes include but are not limited to

Ø Mediating the uncanny: literature, film, music, computer games
Ø Spectrality and hauntology of mediation and technology
Ø Reality, hyperreality and simulacra
Ø Mediation of the Self: online identities and technological doppelganger
Ø Schizophonia, ventriloquism and backmasking in auditive media
Ø Dreams and the unconscious
Ø Spiritualism and mediumship

Proposals should include the name and contact details of the proposer, the title of the proposal and an abstract of no more than 250 words. Please send proposals to Isabella van Elferen, isabellavanelferen@uncannymedia.nl The deadline for proposals is 1 April 2008.
The conference website will be updated regularly. It can be found at www.uncannymedia.nl.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


mannequins in the mist, originally uploaded by annette62.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


, originally uploaded by 'stpiduko'.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Uncanny Valley

Of course, human beings themselves lie at the final goal of robotics, which is why we make an effort to build human-like robots. For example, a robot's arms may be composed of a metal cylinder with many bolts, but to achieve a more human-like appearance, we paint over the metal in skin tones. These cosmetic efforts cause a resultant increase in our sense of the robot's familiarity. Some readers may have felt sympathy for handicapped people they have seen who attach a prosthetic arm or leg to replace a missing limb. But recently prosthetic hands have improved greatly, and we cannot distinguish them from real hands at a glance. Some prosthetic hands attempt to simulate veins, muscles, tendons, finger nails, and finger prints, and their color resembles human pigmentation. So maybe the prosthetic arm has achieved a degree of human verisimilitude on par with false teeth. But this kind of prosthetic hand is too real and when we notice it is prosthetic, we have a sense of strangeness.
Mori, Masahiro, Bukimi no tani [The uncanny valley], trans. K. MacDorman & T. Minato, Energy, Vol 7 No 4 (1970), pp. 33–35.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


Head for the Beach
Originally uploaded by alterednate.