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Themesicon: navigation pathCyborg Bodiesicon: navigation pathDoll-Bodies

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suggests this e.g. in his story «Der Sandmann» (1816/17), in which Nathanael, the principal character, is destroyed by the discovery of his delusion about the doll Olimpia, who embodies a narcissistic ideal of love. [9] Based on this story, Sigmund Freud developed his examination of the «uncanny» by taking up the doppelganger phantasm in the doll character. At the same time, he uses Hoffmann's story, in which the feeling of the «uncanny» is associated with the figure of the doll, to expound on the assertion that this uncanniness does not simply consist of projecting an ideal or an image onto the doll or doubting that the doll has been ‹given a soul.› [10] The projective fantasy of children who play with dolls, for instance, does not even require belief in delusion. And even being left in doubt about the doll being alive or not is not ‹automatically› threatening or uncanny.

In Freud's interpretation, the doll becomes a function of the castration anxiety associated with an all-powerful father. This is experienced metonymically as fear of losing one's eyes and thus represents an uncanny, paranoid repetition of the primal castration scene. At the same time, the threat of castration is


always a threat of death. The uncanny quality of the doppelganger fantasy is associated with the idea of the subject's fading away, with the fear of losing a clear subject position. In this respect fears of loss, which have historically been triggered off by newly emerging possibilities of technical simulation, are thematicized in the ‹doppelgangers› of both a technical and media nature.

Contemporary artists and their «dolls»

A number of names stand for the current discussion on the figure of the doll: Katrin Freisager, Kirsten Geisler, Lynn Hershman, Inez van Lamsweerde, Victorine Müller, Yves Netzhammer, Tony Oursler, Cindy Sherman, Judy Fox, Robert Gober, Mike Kelley, Kiki Smith.

The interest in the doll by each of these artists is individually motivated and must be examined case by case with regard to traditions and the references made to the current debates on mediality and perception. The doll is not merely viewed as a scene of phantasms of wholeness and dismemberment. It is also a figure based on which the connection between the unconscious and (automatisms of) creativity, the

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