Catherine Woodward

University of East Anglia

Project Title: The Ghost in the Machine: The Robot’s Uncanny Voice and its Relation to Contemporary Practice.

Supervised by Professor Denise Riley.

Research Project

The thesis has two interlinked areas of interest; firstly, a study of the robot as cultural icon, which argues for a conception of the robot as an im/material being, that is, a part-fiction and an image, which appears to deify the problematised concepts of consciousness, thought, humanity and the soul, while at the same time contributing to the process of estrange,net from these concepts. I consider the robot as an occult figure, an occultism realised most fully when the robot speaks, exploring in depth the uncanniness of robot voices and what this suggests about the relationship between humans and robots.

Secondly, the thesis draws an explicit relation between the robot and the lyric poem. It intends to position the robot as a kind of subtle image of subjectivity, that is a poetic, particularly lyrical construct and a product of discourse, of social and cultural production.. The thesis explores some specific ways in which poetry is technological, suggesting that the poem exists and functions in the same way as a robot does, thus eliding the robot and the lyric poem through voice. Robot voices and concepts of voice in the context of robots for.