Uncanny Valley

Glasgow, Scotland –
Though we use and accept mannequins in our relationships with fashion and business many of us find them disturbing. This is known as the “Uncanny Valley” syndrome which refers to the eerie, unsettling effect on humans in response to the ever increasing lifelikeness of humanoid objects. The valley is a dip in a proposed graph of the positivity of human reactions towards the object. While male mannequins look reserved and aloof, female mannequins are almost always sexualized and very often are presented in underwear (this is a rare occurrence with male mannequins) so much so that it becomes more about the clothes and includes doll fetish itself (agalmatophilia). Our relationship with mannequins therefore straddles commerce, empathy and sex. This complex relationship concentrates more fully come the twilight. The lighting focuses our gaze more fully on the display, their poses and inevitably their returned gaze.