Outdoor advertising has proven to be a divisive issue in the City of Toronto. As of October 2016 the city has issued a ban on several types of “out of home” advertising placements. This resulted in dozens of uninhabited, large-scale glass advertising frames left hanging around the city. I used this opportunity to stage an open-air exhibition of my Uncanny Valley Portrait Series.
Last year, Madame Tussauds Las Vegas, granted me permission to shoot their wax exhibits in a studio setting. It was an attempt to photograph the sculptures to appear as realistic as possible. This was an experiment intended to test the uncanny valley theory.
In aesthetics, the uncanny valley is the hypothesis that human replicas that appear almost but not exactly like real human beings elicits feelings of eeriness and revulsion among some observers.
By injecting my images of the wax sculptures into the public sphere in high visibility zones that are traditionally reserved for advertising, I am hoping to force observers to interact with the images and draw their own conclusions as illustrated in this news segment about the project: http://www.citynews.ca/video/2017/02/15/video-real-or-fake-celebrity-portraits-pop-up-across-the-citys-west-end/