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Welcome to the home of the Uncanny!

The Uncanny Archive is a place where we explore the more obscure and unsettling aspects of the human psyche through art. Our digital archive analyses haunting artworks from the realms of photography, fine art, and film. We bring eerie and otherworldly art to light and explore the Freudian phenomenon of the uncanny through art, as well as the connections between art and the human psyche. Join us on this digital odyssey as we curate and delve into spellbinding work created by both established and emerging artists.

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We Unveil

the Strangely Familiar…


We Unravel

the Concealed


Film Psychology. Art Analysis.

Psychoanalytic Insights.

The Unconscious Mind.

Glimpses into Artists’ Minds.

Haunted homes. Psychotic states. Strangely familiar apparitions.

We wonder, as in the case of Nathaniel from The Sandman – are they imagining things, is there an element of madness in their narrative (Freud has also correlated the ambivalence of madness with the uncanny) or do the worlds of their stories admit ghosts? This famous division in interpretation, between the metaphysical versus the psychoanalytic reading, is a reflection of the ambiguity within the inner narratives of the unreliable narrators and protagonists. An ineffable sense of ambivalence and mystery is generated by blurring the boundaries between reality and fantasy. We enter the realm of superstitions, presentiments, of the return of the repressed, of dichotomies, of intuition versus paranoia, precognitive dreams, and the unknown aspects of the inner life of a human being.

Relevant films: The Innocents, The Others, The Haunting, Repulsion, Possession


doppelgängers. Identity merging. Liminality. Repetition compulsion. 

The uncanny can be linked with a sense of duality, a split in the ego, sometimes creating contrasting inner parts. Moving cinematic essays on fragmented identity and psychological crisis explore neurotic processes as well as the acts of intertwining identities that are often distilled in uncanny shots and fleeting, spectral visions of an uncanny ‘other’ that inspires fear. The uncanny double sometimes symbolises the discarded self, the ego-part that a character gave up. Mirrors and reflections are prevalent in the mise-en-scene of the films and are associated with both integration and estrangement. Characters may find themselves in liminal spaces where dreams merge with memories and fantasies bleed into reality.

Relevant films: The Double Life of Veronique, Black Swan, Persona, Dead Ringers, Mulholland Dr., Perfect Blue, 3 Women, L’Amant Double


Automata. Lifelike DOLLS AND creatures. Alien Consciousness. 

An alien presence of an ambiguous nature, strange, nightmarish processes and mutations, symbiotic connections with sentient areas, the fear of being assimilated into something terrifying. Films within this category often create an eerie, magnetic atmosphere and feature compelling imagery of familiar elements depicted in sinister or macabre ways. Blurred lines between real and synthetic beings, self and other, human and alien nature make us interrogate the condition of being.

Relevant films: Annihilation, Stalker, Solaris, Ex Machina, Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell, Under the Skin




“The uncanny” is a bemusing, unsettling phenomenon characterised by a feeling of disruptive eeriness and unreality piercing through the fabric of the mundane. In Freud’s view, “the uncanny” is something that is frightening, yet familiar; it generates a particular type of response in one’s psyche and evokes an ineffable feeling. The uncanny generally teeters on the blurred lines between reality and illusion, self and other, life and death, the natural and the unnatural.

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In fiction, the uncanny has often been associated with recurrent themes such as the double/doppelgänger figure, reflections, mirroring, strangely familiar apparitions, haunted homes, horror, & the symbolic return of the repressed in the form of ghosts, monsters, or other Gothic figures. In art, objects such as wax masks, automata, and lifelike dolls tend to be described as uncanny.

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The term might also summon up thoughts of what is known as the Uncanny Valley, emphasising the unsettling, sometimes repulsive effect of things of an ambiguous lifelike nature, objects that appear to be human and alive, but upon closer examination reveal themselves to be flawed human replicas.

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Psychoanalytic discourse emphasises the subjectivity of the phenomenon, shifting the focus from the objects themselves (which are not inherently endowed with uncanniness) to how we, the observers, experience certain objects, settings, situations, as well as art shows and artworks, in a way that perceptually challenges or disrupts our sense of reality, making us aware of the unfamiliar present in the familiar, and resurrecting phantom elements or modes of perception from our past.

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Within these intimate moments, our being has an inner dialogue with the unconscious, whilst a haunting sense of unreality temporarily permeates the fibres of our existence. In this light, the uncanny encompasses experiences such as a human subject unconsciously or seemingly accidentally returning to the same spot several times (as if compelled or pushed by an external force), the feeling of deja-vu, a peculiar sense of being watched, potentially by something supernatural, finding objects that you thought were lost forever, or stepping into an empty place that is normally filled with people.

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The Freudian Roots of the Concept


On “Das Unheimliche”

Within the first pages of his essay on The Uncanny, Freud adopts a humble tone, acknowledging that his analysis is limited by the lack of exposure to foreign literature due to conditions in the immediate post-World War I period. Within this historical context, the psychoanalyst’s interest and fascination with the uncanny arose from his experience treating post-war traumatic cases. This is evident in his essay, which consistently gravitates towards the subject of neurosis and the significance of repressed content of thought in the manifestation of the uncanny. 

Despite the humbleness, Freud sets off with the goal of providing an illuminating work on the subject, yet as expected from the nature of it, this task proves to be problematic. Freud’s work itself turns out to possess some of the uncanny characteristics it describes. First of all, its purpose is to reveal something that is concealed within the parameters of subjectivity of feeling, of experience, and memories. More than once, Freud reaches the conclusion that some factors of the uncanny may be perceived as such by some individuals but not by others, depending on their awareness of the world around them and the world within. One such example, in real-life experience, would be the recurrence of the same situation, or same number several times in one day, which would impress someone who has not fully surmounted old beliefs of supernatural events and signs, but not others who are more anchored in science.

Another aspect that Das Unheimliche shares with its subject and with many uncanny narratives is that it is haunting, repetitive, and filled with uncertainty. 

In Freud’s view, in the field of art, authors can use elements of real-life uncanny experiences whilst adding more to them, so as to intensify or distort them in order to evoke feeling and induce an uncanny response. He states that mere representation is not enough: what would normally arouse feelings of uncanny in real life might not work in stories, therefore there are other factors at play. Cases of the return of the repressed and infantile complexes do not necessarily arouse uncanniness in themselves, Freud confesses, neither do each of the elements mentioned work on their own – for instance, the double, the silence, repetition, or ghosts are not inherently uncanny. As we read through the essay, we feel the struggle of the master of psychoanalysis to describe the indescribable, to grasp something which does not want to be grasped.

Whether we are talking about a piece of art or real life, the uncanny effect is something that has to be experienced in order to be understood. In some films, silence can indeed significantly contribute to a certain atemporal eeriness, and combined with dim lights and emptiness, can be suggestive of death in a way that surpasses the dread induced by the presence of the ghost of a man.

Freud points out that although generally, primitive beliefs in ghosts and the return of the dead are surmounted, they resurface in many of us at the sight or hint of something we perceive as unusual. However, such sources of the uncanny don’t apply to people who are convinced of reality in their beliefs for instance, and who are thus less likely to be affected by such literary apparitions. Prolonged silence, however, springing from the real world, but given deathly connotations, arouses the infantile anxieties Freud alludes to, which we are all susceptible to.

Certain works of art encompass that combination of factors through which the uncanny is born out of art and transcends into life, making the reader and the viewer experience it.

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The Mission

The overarching mission of the Uncanny Archive is to stimulate art and film appreciation, enhance understanding of art and film, encourage meaningful discourse about the psychology of art, as well as analysing art shows and shedding light on the work of emerging artists.








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The Uncanny Archive fosters a sense of community for lovers of quality cinema, moving art, and soul-stirring horror. Join us on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and/or Discord.

The Archive has also constituted a safe space for me to explore my interests in psychologically-charged films and a way of bonding with like-minded art, film, and psychology enthusiasts.

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Submissions are always welcome. Please stick to the theme and concepts of the Uncanny Archive. Have a look at the Facebook page and website to understand the aesthetics and concepts behind the art that is generally featured and analysed, as well as detailed information about the phenomenon of the uncanny, starting from its roots in Freudian essays to philosophical interpretations, cultural theory, and contemporary psychoanalytic discourse. With this being said, don’t feel too limited by one specific definition.

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Somewhere in the universe