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The Uncanny - Experiments in Cyborg Culture

The Uncanny

Experiments in Cyborg Culture

Edited by Bruce Grenville
Categories: Visual Arts, Popular Culture, Cultural Studies
Paperback : 9781551521169, 280 pages, 2002


The Uncanny: Experiments in Cyborg Culture is a dazzling and provocative examination of the cyborg--the concept of man-as-machine--in popular culture. The book collects essays and images, in colour and black-and-white, presenting the image of the cyborg in all its imaginative guises. The title is from a 1919 essay by Sigmund Freud (and included in the book), which deals with the sensation of "uncanniness" as being strange and familiar at the same time.
The idea of the cyborg has been in existence for decades, and is one of the most persistent cultural images of the past century. The cyborg is a cypher--an enigmatic image of figure that is human but not human, a machine but not a machine. It exists at the intersection of science, technology, and culture. For some, the cyborg is evident in the massive presence of technology; we are constantly aided by machines, whether they are computers, vehicles, or military weapons that extend and amplify our presence in the natural world, or by medical prosthetics, such as pacemakers, artificial limbs, and eyeglasses, that maintain and reinforce our existing physical body.
How is one to understand the persistence of this image in the visual arts and popular culture, in science and literature, medicine and cultural theory? This book, in its essays and images, presents the cyborg as an "uncanny" image that reflects our shared fascination and dread of the machine and its presence in our daily lives.
The Uncanny complemented a major exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery. The book suggests a significant link between the visual arts and popular culture in the evolving representation of the cyborg, beginning as early is the 19th century.
A copublication with the Vancouver Art Gallery, The Uncanny is a thoughtful and beautifully presented examination of cyborg culture that will help to define our sense of self as we forge ahead into the uncertain future.
Essays by: Sigmund Freud ("The Uncanny"), William Gibson (an excerpt from "Neuromancer"), Donna Haraway ("A Manifesto For Cyborgs"), and Toshiya Ueno ("Japanimation and Techno-Orientalism").
Includes 32 full-colour photographs and numerous black and white images.
Winner, Canadian Museum Association Award, Best Publication.


  • Winner, Outstanding Publication, Canadian Museums Assoc. 2002


The collection of imaginative essays interweaving aesthetics, analysis, history, and cultural studies carries this primary interest of modern society to its limits. - Midwest Book Review

An ambitious compilation of essays relating to one of the past century's most persistent images: the cyborg. -Quill & Quire

Brilliant . . . in its ability to match gripping popular culture with first-rate intellectual enquiry. -Vancouver Sun

An immensely ambitious exhibition. -Georgia Straight

. . . an ass-kicking interface into the alternately fearful, ambivalent, erotic, empowering, enigmatic--and above all, persistent - image of the cyborg in contemporary consciousness.
-Fast Forward