WORKSHOP: Art and Robots [Freud's Unheimlich and the Uncanny Valley]
An International Workshop at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and
Automation, Kongresszentrum Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe, Germany, May 10, 2013.
Organized by Ken Goldberg, Heather Knight, and Pericle Salvini.
This one-day workshop at the premier conference for robotics researchers
brings together technologists, artists, and theorists to explore past and
future relationships between art and robotics. Artworks involving robots
have a rich and extensive history dating back to the ancient Greeks,
through da Vinci, Jean Tinguely, Nam June Paik, Survival Research Labs,
Jonathon Borofsky, and Stelarc. The workshop references Freud's 1919
aesthetic essay on E.T.A. Hoffman's 1816 horror tale The Sandman (which
includes an automaton as a central character). Freud's term "Der
Unheimliche" is usually translated as "The Uncanny". Freud's concept of
the Uncanny is familiar in art history and has been applied to many
novels, paintings, sculptures, and films. The term was also applied to a
phenomenon noted by Masahiro Mori in 1970 where the human psychological
experience of being charmed by animated beings undergoes a steep non-linearity when the animated being is "too close for comfort".