Uncanny Realm: The Extension of The Natural

Laura Beloff

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


One of the typical binaries existing in western society is the division
between natural and artificial. But similarly biological and technological
are often seen as oppositions. In today’s world, it is increasingly difficult
to tell the difference between natural-biological entities from artificially
constructed ones with human cognitive abilities. This is due to the
development of biotechnological methods to manipulate or construct
new kinds of living organisms that are purposely designed by humans.
Likewise, artificial intelligence-systems are being developed to become
more autonomous and life-like with their sensing and learning abilities.
These developments point out that our perceptions of the concepts of
natural and artificial are radically changing. Traditionally natural is
understood as something coming from nature and not made or caused
by humans; and artificial is understood as the opposite – not natural, but
produced, created or caused by humans.
Taking the uncanny valley concept by M. Mori (Mori 1970) as a starting
point, the paper will investigate how this concept fits into experiments
that are intertwining biological and technological matter. The uncanny
valley idea was developed by Mori in relation to robots and their
resemblance to humans. It is a concept that is strongly connected to
our perception of truth and to the moment when we are confronted with
a question to judge if something is ‘real’. In the paper the uncanny
valley concept is extended to experiments in the arts and the sciences
that address intertwining of biology, nature, technology, and which
disarrange our traditional understanding of natural, artificial and real.
The talk will additionally present examples of the recent and ongoing
research by the author that is interlinked between biology and
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationISEA2017 Manizales BIO-CREATION AND PEACE : Proceedings of the 23rd International Symposium on Electronic Arts
Number of pages4
Place of PublicationBogotá D.C
PublisherDepartment of Visual Design, Universidad de Caldas, and ISEA International.
Publication date10 Jun 2017
ISBN (Electronic)978-958-759-161-3
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2017
EventInternational Symposium on Electronic Art: Bio-Creation and Peace - Univ. of Caldas, Manizales, Colombia
Duration: 11 Jun 201718 Jun 2017
Conference number: 23


ConferenceInternational Symposium on Electronic Art
LocationUniv. of Caldas
Internet address


  • uncanny valley
  • biology & technology
  • art & science
  • nature


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