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Lawrence Weschler: Facing Up to the Uncanny Valley

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Published on May 29, 2012

Will digital animators ever be able to render a believable human face? Successful in virtually every other regard (hands, bodies, crowds, quidditch matches!), they always stumble at the countenance. And it's worse than that: past a certain point in creating a face (say, the 95-percent mark), right at the very brink of verisimilitude, the ickier things get. The animators keep falling into what they call the "Uncanny Valley"—the hypothesis that the more human a human representation becomes, the more strongly it repels us. Perhaps the face really is the seat of the soul, and souls just don't lend themselves to digital approximation. Festival artistic director emeritus Lawrence Weschler returns to riff on these and other conundrums, drawing on his newest collection, Uncanny Valley and Other Adventures in the Narrative.

The annual Richard Gray Visual Art Series recognizes a significant gift from founding CHF board member and distinguished art dealer Richard Gray.

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