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Thursday, May 22, 2008

When wow becomes ewww

Thanks to Hoyden about Town, I have a fab new obsession: Photoshop Disasters.

Hil and I were talking only just the other day about the 'uncanny valley' concept of realism (particularly in reference to puppetry); I hadn't ever heard of it before. Of course, once you become aware of something, you see it everywhere. So when I saw it on PD, it jumped out at me.


There comes a certain point at which your photoshopping stops removing blemishes and begins an unsettling voyage into the uncanny valley.

Anyone got any good 'uncanny valley' examples? My favorite at the moment is Kylie Minogue.

11 comments:

Amanda said...

I first heard of the uncanny valley in reference to that North Pole animated thing with Tom Hanks.

Ampersand Duck said...

Yeah, even the shorts for that movie weirded me out. Good call.

Pavlov's Cat said...

This isn't an example, more of an analogy: does anyone remember the Portsmouth Sinfonia? They were an orchestra who loved to play music but were basically crap, possibly not unlike the way one imagines the performances of the Really Terrible Orchestra of which Alexander McCall Smith is a member, and they became famous by recording well-known orchestral pieces that were very funny because they were so bad. The conductor once remarked 'Somehow the closer we get, the funnier it is' and this has stayed with me as a central truth about the nature of parody. (Compare with any school orchestra you have ever sat through.) I think the concept of the uncanny valley could be very usefully applied to a theoretical understanding of parody (and impersonation) and what it does to us.

Paul Capsis calls his brilliant impersonations 'channelling', which also speaks to the idea of uncanniness (which might in turn be connected to the spookiness of the Doppelganger/Evil Twin). And he is indeed uncanny, as anyone who has seen him will confirm.

There's a thesis in it, I reckon.

Ampersand Duck said...

Gawd, there should be a running blog called 'This could be a thesis' where people write posts on potential thesis ideas that they have pondered but have absolutely no intention of undertaking. Like a central pool.

Non-sequiter: is is just me, or has the Blogger doorbitch got overly complicated lately? Maybe I just attract the 8-letter tests...

worldpeace and a speedboat said...

oohh arr oog. hooked as well. have you checked out one of the blogs they link to?

http://judgeabook.blogspot.com/

lots of fun there, too!

and yes, the doorbitch is being extra bitchy as of late. in unusually distorted text, too.

Hil said...

Ah, good catch! What do you think of this japanese robot baby?

http://tinyurl.com/33cq2k

Glad you liked the Obama/Clinton/McCain finger puppets. And as for the elbows of death I hope I don't get them next Tuesday!

I had such a good time visiting the other day, btw - thanks!

Teej Mahal said...

Oh yes. I've been meaning to post about this one for a while:

http://naturalbeautiescontest.homestead.com/retouch5.html

Photoshopping perfectly normal children for pageant purposes.

These things look like they're going to eat your soul, or at least your face.

Ampersand Duck said...

holy smoke, Teej, that's just WRONG.

And it ties in beautifully with the Bill Henson crap developing as I type.

Teej Mahal said...

It certainly does.

I was fascinated by it on so many levels. Screwing with grown women's minds and confidence by airbrushing the life out of pics is one thing; what on earth are these kids going to grow up and think?

This one gives me the wiggins: http://naturalbeautiescontest.homestead.com/retoucha.html

It's not even CLOSE to looking like a real person. Yeesh.

Ampersand Duck said...

It's like they've made a doll for her in her own likeness...

Mummy/Crit said...

Pav - I know of this Porstmouth Sinfonia, along with PDQ Bach and Florence Foster Jenkins, reknowned for their badness.