Event Title

Vacation in the Uncanny Valley: An Examination of the Artist Patricia Piccinini Through the Lens of Robotics

Research Mentor(s)

Sapin, Julia

Description

The modern sculptor Patricia Piccinini crafts a menagerie of unnatural humanoid figures that evoke a strange and surreal world wherein children frequently fawn over what adults may find monstrous. However, what about this body of work makes defining an emotional response so difficult? The warped bodies of Piccinini’s creatures look so real that you might suspect a heartbeat if you pressed an ear to their chest, but it is difficult to describe what about these creatures makes them so disquieting. Through the lens of the uncanny valley theory of robotics, I intend to use data gathered from the studies of emotional response to humanoid androids to examine the emotions that these “uncanny” works stir. With a focus on the work The Welcome Guest, I posit that the distortion of the human figure is both a reminder of mortality as well as a mechanism for us to question the eventuality of our opposition to progress. When faced with the theoretical biomechanical possibilities of our future, do we choose to reject or embrace these uncomfortable truths that come with the growing pains of seeking progress? Regardless of your choice as an individual, the next generation will grow to take for granted that which seemed to be science fiction once upon a time.

Document Type

Event

Start Date

May 2020

End Date

May 2020

Department

Art History

Genre/Form

student projects, posters

Type

Image

Rights

Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this document for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author’s written permission.

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Vacation in the Uncanny Valley: An Examination of the Artist Patricia Piccinini Through the Lens of Robotics

The modern sculptor Patricia Piccinini crafts a menagerie of unnatural humanoid figures that evoke a strange and surreal world wherein children frequently fawn over what adults may find monstrous. However, what about this body of work makes defining an emotional response so difficult? The warped bodies of Piccinini’s creatures look so real that you might suspect a heartbeat if you pressed an ear to their chest, but it is difficult to describe what about these creatures makes them so disquieting. Through the lens of the uncanny valley theory of robotics, I intend to use data gathered from the studies of emotional response to humanoid androids to examine the emotions that these “uncanny” works stir. With a focus on the work The Welcome Guest, I posit that the distortion of the human figure is both a reminder of mortality as well as a mechanism for us to question the eventuality of our opposition to progress. When faced with the theoretical biomechanical possibilities of our future, do we choose to reject or embrace these uncomfortable truths that come with the growing pains of seeking progress? Regardless of your choice as an individual, the next generation will grow to take for granted that which seemed to be science fiction once upon a time.