Video documentation from the event
31 October, 2-6pm

Join us on Halloween for an event that will explore some of the themes raised in Wysing's current exhibition The Uncanny Valley, with contributions from academics and artists.

Book travel from, and back to, Cambridge station for this event. Click here.

Uncanny Halloween

This event explore some of the themes raised in the exhibition The Uncanny Valley and includes presentations and performances across Wysing’s site as well as an opportunity to see the exhibition before it closes on 8 November. 


In the Open Studio

2pm  Welcome by Wysing Director, Donna Lynas

2.05pm A presentation by Dr Fumiya Iida, Lecturer in Mechatronics at the University of Cambridge who will be speaking about developments in robotics and Artificial Intelligence. Dr Iida’s research topics include legged robot locomotion, evolutionary robotics, human-robot interactions, and embodied artificial intelligence. Followed by a Q&A

2.50pm An audio visual performance presentation by Werkflow (James B Stringer, Tom Wandrag and Clifford Sage) who are a London-based studio specialising in Next Gen Cinematography. Werflow have collaborated with many visual artists including Julia Crabtree and William Evans, Sidsel Meineche Hansen and Joey Holder.

In the Gallery

3.30pm A live performance by Lawrence Lek in relation to his new work for Wysing, Shiva’s Grotto, 2015, which maps out a terrain for a possible future Wysing.

4pm Break with tea and coffee

In the Open Studio

4.15pm Can looking at hands make your skin crawl? Perception, imitation, cognition and the uncanny valley, a presentation by Dr Ellen Poliakoff, of Body Eyes and Movement (BEAM) laboratory, School of Psychological Sciences, University of Manchester

What is special about seeing another person move? Do we imitate non-human agents and robots and what might happen if they appear ‘uncanny’? Dr Poliakoff will talk about some recent and current work on the uncanny in relation to the body, and in particular the hand, as well as reviewing current cognitive accounts of the uncanny valley. Followed by a Q&A

5pm A music performance by Benedict Drew, using the voice and synthetic voices. 

In Amphis

5.30pm A performance of 
*OMG UN-fucking-CANNY a new work by Sophie Jung made especially for this event.

6pm Ends

Contributor biographies

Benedict Drew uses a combination of video, music and sculptural elements – and brings together material as diverse as lumps of clay, overhead projectors and high resolution digital video – to reflect on society’s ambivalent relationship with technology, and create work that is hypnotic, fantastical and unsettling. He has had solo exhibitions and presentations at Matt's Gallery, London; SASA Gallery Adelaide, Australia; School of Fine Arts University of Canterbury, New Zealand (2014);  Phoenix and Two Queens Gallery, Leicester;  Rhubaba, Edinburgh, Scotland; Wysing’s Music Festival (2013) and Whitstable Biennale;  Outpost, Norwich;  Cell Project Space, London;  Zabludowicz Collection, London; Circa Site/AV Festival, Newcastle (2013). He is currently exhibiting a new commission as part of British Art Show 8.

Fumiya Iida received his bachelor and master degrees in mechanical engineering at Tokyo University of Science (Japan, 1999), and Dr. sc. nat. in Informatics at University of Zurich (2006). In 2004 and 2005, he was also engaged in biomechanics research of human locomotion at Locomotion Laboratory, University of Jena (Germany). From 2006 to 2009, he worked as a postdoctoral associate at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology in USA. His research interests include biologically inspired robotics, embodied artificial intelligence, and biomechanics, and he has been involved in a number of research projects related to dynamic legged locomotion, navigation of autonomous robots, and human-machine interactions. He has so far published over forty publications in major robotics journals and conferences, and edited two books. Currently he serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Intelligent & Robotic Systems and Frontiers in Neuroscience (Neurorobotics), and as a program committee member for international conferences and workshops.

Sophie Jung received her BFA from the Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam and her MFA from Goldsmiths, London. Recent projects include her solo exhibition Learning about Heraldry, Ceri Hand Gallery, United Kingdom; Pick Me Ups & Pick Ups, ICA, United Kingdom; NY–LUX, MUDAM, Luxembourg;Throw Up / On Line, House for Electronic Arts Switzerland; read the room/you’ve got to, S.A.L.T.S., Switzerland; Inflected Objects, Instituto Svizzero, Milan, Italy; Panda Sex, State of Concept, Greece; X&X at Oslo10, Switzerland, her most recent solo show New Waiting at Temnikova & Kasela, Tallinn, Estonia, an online comission for Inflected Objects at Instituto Svizzero in Milan, curated by Melanie Bühler, the 4th edition of the Eternal Internet Brotherhood, Uncanny Valley at Wysing Arts Centre (UK) as well as Äppärät curated by Tom Morton at Ballroom Marfa (US).Sophie’s writing has been published in PALE Journal, Hoax Publication, Paperwork Magazine, Journal of Visual Arts Practice, Intellect, Fiktion.cc. In 2013 she received the Edward Steichen Award, Luxemburg which allows her to spend six months at ISCP, New York

Lawrence Lek explores the physical experience of simulated presence through wearable devices, audio-visual programs, and immersive installations. Lek was born in Frankfurt am Main and studied architecture at Cambridge University before going on to train at the Architectural Association and The Cooper Union, New York. He won the Dazed Emerging Artist Award in 2015 and has exhibited internationally since 2010 including at KEK, Budapest; Artslant, San Francisco; Gewerbe Musuem, Wintertur;  Chashama Foundation, New York; Cubitt, London; and the Delfina Foundation, London.

Ellen Poliakoff is a senior lecturer in Psychology at the University of Manchester and is co-director of the Body Eyes and Movement (BEAM) laboratory. She investigates how we use sensory information such as vision and touch to move and interact with the world around us and how this is affected by Parkinson’s disease, ageing and autism. She is also interested in multisensory processes; how information from the different sensory modalities interacts.

Werkflow was founded in 2013 by James B Stringer, Tom Wandrag and Clifford Sage and specialises in Next gen Cinematography. As a studio, Werkflow research new and unusual workflows, exploring unique hardware/software combinations to produce a range of work including interactive live visuals, music videos, computer games, album artwork and brand identity, as well as assisting artists and musicians in realising their ideas.

The Uncanny Valley is a group exhibition with Julia Crabtree and William Evans, Benedict Drew, Sidsel Meineche Hansen, Holly Herndon, Joey Holder, Sophie Jung, Lawrence Lek, Rachel Maclean and Katja Novitskova. Details of work included in the exhibition, here.