Valley of the Cyborgs: A Posthuman Re-imagining of the Surrealist Representation of the Female Form

Sydow, Varina
Bennett, Gregory
Kennedy, Jason
Item type
Degree name
Master of Art and Design
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Auckland University of Technology

Valley of the Cyborgs is a digital animation three channel video installation that responds to the representation of the female form presented as a passive, entrapped entity in the Mannequin Street installation from the 1938 International Surrealism Exposition in Paris. Donna Haraway’s A Cyborg Manifesto offers a Feminist posthuman vision of disrupting traditional dualities of man and machine, woman and nature, body and mind as a means of transcending the limitations of the human body or prejudicial restrictions imposed by society. By reconfiguring the mannequin as the boundary crossing cyborg this project offers an alternative depiction of the female figure free to move in a virtual digital space, given agency by being animated. The mannequin is inhuman yet human, the 3D human character model is animate, yet inanimate - both are uncanny. Aspects of the Uncanny Valley phenomenon are explored through the incorporation of Adobe Fuse ‘ready-made’ 3D human models and animations. The effect of the uncanny has been deliberately heightened in the presentation of the characters and their movements as well as by incorporating the flaws in human-like representation and behaviour that current limitations of the software generate. How can the digital ready-made be customised through evidence of the artist’s hand to offer an alternate vision of female empowerment rather than subjugation?

Cyborg , Posthuman , Feminism , Surrealism , Uncanny , Uncanny valley , Mannequin , 3D animation , Digital animation , Video installation , Adobe Fuse
Publisher's version
Rights statement