Tuesday, 1 December 2009


first off, I'd just like to say, i thought i had the project sussed when this word came up, and mild visions of me choking on food as a child were brought back to me. i guess i was wrong.


what does it mean? i could easily copy and paste some jargon form wikipedia, but how is that going to help any of us? I've been doing some reading this evening, and i've even asked a few people who i thought may have an idea, however, I'm afraid to report, this still seems like a hazy subject.

ambiguity, i get, its the feeling of pre-completion, its not sparse, its not empty, its there but finding it is the task, its not given directly to you. i can understand the definition, and i can find an ambiguous source i.e. Andy Warhol's transgender images, seem to have an obvious sense of ambiguity to them, they have several different meanings, the subject itself goes both ways in a sense.
however, studying the meaning of uncanny is a lot more perplexing to me. when Phil shot down Chucky as not being uncanny, i became confused. he is a familiar item, that has changed? how is that not uncanny?

there's a lot of talk about Ridley Scott's Alien holding a similar theme known as 'ABJECTION' . The almost blatant driving force of a 'female' the Phallic alien creatures, mothers laying eggs and the face huggers distinct graphic look all add to the reason why many reviewers look into this.
when the first male is impregnated by the face hugger, we are shown someone, with no child baring capabilities all of a sudden taking on this role (albeit unknowingly) and is then gruesomely killed due to it, this is one of the most obvious abjectifications of women in the movie.

i feel looking into this, could lead me to clearer understanding of uncanny. I'll update with more


  1. Hey, Elly - Abjection - yes! It's a related concept and coined by Julia Kristeva; she defines the 'Abject' as anything we must 'thrust away from ourselves in order to live' - so she says the corpse is 'abject' because it represents all that we repress; likewise shit, pus, and blood - bodily fluids - everything we need to be 'away from' in order to be 'alive' and socialised... have fun researching that little lot...

    and don't worry about the 'hazy' aspect of the uncanny - it's part and parcel' - but the point about uncanny objects is that they're creepy because they resist a final definite 'yes - or no' - i.e. waxworks - did they move out of the corner of my eye, or didn't they? Thereby resides their power to unnerve; Chucky, on the other hand, is a 'resolved object' - it IS alive - so it can no longer possess that awful 'might be' or 'almost' energy...

  2. abjection seems to be slightly more understandable than unheimlich, but i think as you mentioned, there is a similarity, and i'll be damned if i dont get to the bottom of it. as a word, i understand it, and i'd be able to tell you whether something is or isn't uncanny, but developing something of my own that isn't convetionally uncanny e.g. the puppet, is a different story.

  3. another new word to add to your list - check out the definition of an 'aporia' ...

  4. Hi,

    inside the German word 'Unheimlich' lies the word "Heim" which means home. Un- means the opposite. Thus 'Unheimlich' actually describes how you feel 'not at home'.

    At the same time 'heimlich' also means 'stealthy' or 'covert'. So if un-heimlich works as the opposite of that, then there's room for interpretating that something which should be invisible becomes visible. Which creeps everyone out. =)

    I'm not entirely which one is correct but they both work as a description I think.