Uncanny Valley

Photos of celebrities mysteriously appear in Toronto

If you live in the Dovercourt and Bloor area of Toronto, you may have noticed a recent invasion of major celebrities in your neighbourhood.

Of course, they're not live in the flesh: blown-up photographic portraits of celebrities like Mike Tyson, Sandra Bullock, Britney Spears, and Ontario's own Justin Bieber are filling in the space where ads might normally be on the sides of convenience stores and other buildings.

Upon closer inspection, it appears that the photos are in fact not portraits of the real celebs themselves, but rather of ultra-realistic wax figures.

The project is the work of local photographer Peter Andrew, part of his Uncanny Valley project. The uncanny valley refers to a phenomenon wherein a humanoid or computer-generated figure is close enough to being realistically human that it arouses unease in the viewer. The series even caught the eye of Applied Arts magazine.

The guerilla-style exhibition uses already empty advertising frames in the Bloorcourt neighbourhood. This method of display has one drawback: art-coveting Torontonians have already begun stealing the portraits. One of Bruce Willis lasted less than a day.

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