The Uncanny

“I think Bigfoot is blurry; that’s the problem. It’s not the photographer’s fault. Bigfoot is blurry and that’s extra scary to me. There’s a large out-of-focus monster roaming the countryside.”
~ Mitch Hedberg

The Uncanny
Single-channel high-definition digital video
5:54 minutes (looped), 16:9, colour, silent
Edition of 6 + 1 AP

There is authenticity in low-resolution imagery. This is how Bigfoot, UFO, and Loch Ness Monster videos uploaded to YouTube gain their validity. Similarly, the most powerful still and moving images from conflict and occupied zones are often low-resolution, heavily pixelated, and blurred. In researching this project, I began to realise how fundamental the pixel is in allowing us to cross borders in real-time through the emission and instantaneous reception of visual signals (live streaming webcams, security cameras, and mobile footage from protests, war zones and dangerous journeys). I wanted to embrace this quality—which enabled me, from Mexico City, where I was undertaking a residency—to capture beachgoers at leisure using a networked surf camera above Coolum Beach, Australia. The uncanniness of the images—at times the people documented appear more mythical creature than human—belongs to a politics of fear and threat of otherness (the pixelated face of a criminal, Bigfoot, fighter jet footage of an airstrike, or CCTV footage). These things sit at the intersection of digital and physical, and the real and imagined, where the spectacle trumps direct experience of the world, and things we recognise start to blur seamlessly into places and things that aren’t real.

Detailed view:
The Uncanniness of Render Ghosts by Kailum Graves