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Themesicon: navigation pathCyborg Bodiesicon: navigation pathDoll-Bodies

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Surrealist dolls have not only almost exclusively been handed down through media (in photographs or films), from the outset they were created for the sole purpose of being photographed. To use Benjamin's words, they reckon with being photographed: «To an ever greater degree the work of art reproduced becomes the work of art designed for reproducibility.» [24] This means that historically, the Surrealists themselves did not understand the dolls to be the actual Surrealist object, but rather used them so to speak as a means of producing another Surrealist object: namely photography, or even better: photography frequently annotated with text. [25] This is why this artistic production also has to be viewed as a conscious and intense scrutiny of the mediality of photography and film.

This is not lastly the reason why this motif is also being taken up in current media art. The possibilities of video, digital photography, digital image processing and the moving digital image pose a renewed challenge to reflect on the mediality of representation, which in turn is bound to the tradition of illusion and dis-illusion. In their doll photographs, the Surrealists


were able to bring out the uncanny quality of photography, the mortification as well as the animation of the object being photographed. [26] The doll was particularly well suited for this. As was the case with Nathanael in «Der Sandmann,» it began as a dead object and was brought to life through the mortifying reproduction technique of analog photography—a tautological combination so to speak—through a lens or a pane of glass.

Reflection on the changed status and the changed reference to a referee in the images produced by means of digital image processing [27] is a central motif for contemporary artists in their exposure of the mimesis of contemporary simulation techniques using the figure of the doll. Not only do the possibilities of projection play a large role in this, be it the projection of a video or of digital images, so do the endless possibilities of the manipulation or simulation of all preceding image and sound media in digital processing. And not lastly, all of the potential of interactive constellations are also sounded out that combined with image, sound and activity can subject the senses to an immersive delusion.

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