Anthropomorphic Things: Disrupting the Boundary Between Subject and Object

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Presentation Title:

  • Anthropomorphic Things: Disrupting the Boundary Between Subject and Object

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Abstract:

  • Keywords: Figurative Sculpture, Puppetry, Robotics, Uncanny, Lifelikeness, Presence, Human Condition.

    This poster presentation displays visual documentation of my practice-research investigations into the forms and materials that evoke the uncanny with the illusion of presence. I found that such uncanny experiences of presence are evoked by objects that are human in form and proportions, by objects that are placed within a narrative structure, by objects that move autonomously, and by objects whose motion is responsive to the viewer. I also argue that uncanny experiences are an important subset of aesthetic experiences because such experiences challenge us to face our fears and deep-rooted assumptions, thus forcing us to question our presumptions about what it means to be human. The question that informs my practice is: what elements push an object toward forming a seemingly sentient identity? This question is addressed through theoretical investigations, through experimentation within studio practice, and through observations of the artwork and its viewers. The culmination of this study is a series of human-sized uncanny objects (which I describe as sculptural puppets or minimal robots) that disrupt our perception of lifelikeness.

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