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caitlyn jean mcmillan


This work consists of a Dora the Explorer doll with her skin pulled off of her machine skull. The way we personify the doll allows the act of skinning feel grotesque, playing with our feelings of abjection.  Using real time video with cameras in her eyes that feed the screen she is laying on, you get to see yourself mirrored as you stare at Dora. Using a motion sensor, you get to hear Dora’s sweet high pitched voice singing to you as the robot features move, skinned for us to see each movement and hear the extra loud mechanisms amplified without the skin to muffle the sound. Dora goes from innocent young explorer to a voyeuristic machine.


As a queer person, I identify with the doll more than the viewer. I am a robot going through the expected motions; in my case, heteronormative expectations, in Dora’s case a routine reciting, both of which have been programmed into us. MY eyes are Dora’s eyes; watching the world watching me, seeing the revulsion and the fake kindness and confusion and the indifference, the way they look at me when I am stripped down to my mechanics and it’s not what they expected to see. Finally, we are both triggered by the presence of another person, jumping into our expected script as if nothing is a miss, but feeling completely exposed. 


Doll, screen, cameras, mac mini, 2015

Dimensions: 14” x 8.5” x 10”

This work was created for the 2015 Supernova event facilitated by No Vacancy Art in Burlington. 

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