Uncanny valley*

by maggie

Elsewhere on the blog-sphere Clive Hinks jenkins is hosting an exhibition of puppets. Since I contributed to his last exhibition I’ve been considering what I might submit for this one.
The subject for the puppets is mythology, which alows for a wide range of characters and moods. I’ve made puppets and dolls in the past. They were never terribly realistic and anything I might do for this exhibition would be on a similar vein.

This little chap is made out of a pair of kid gloves. He is not very flexible though.

Where as this lady is all legs.

If I make a puppet I think it will be a mermaid. Not some Victorian siren, but a well adapted sea dweller. I’ve been looking at pictures of seals, including their skeletons and making sketches. (Which I will put up when I can reproduce them well enough.) A puppet should move and catching the movement right is what creates character. I’ve also been thinking about the hair it should be sea weedy.
A mermaid, whether they actively seduce land lubbers or not is a disturbing concept. I suppose I want to capture that as much as I want the puppet to be seal like. The human brain as amazing capacities to turn almost anything into a person. It’s when things get too real that the creepiness really builds up.


*The uncanny valley describes the creepiness when things that aren’t human look too human.