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23 Sep, 2009

Ghost Detectors

Posted by: admin In: We make money not art

There’s a lot of photography these days on the blog. Maybe it’s time to give some space to another artwork i saw at the exhibition Awake Are Only the Spirits in Dortmund (DE), i’ve been keeping it in my cupboard for way too long.

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Sam Ashley, Ghost Detector, 1994-2005. Image courtesy HMKV

‘Awake Are Only the Spirits’ – On Ghosts and Their Media investigates the presence of the supernatural, the manifestations of spirits, and (trans)communication with the beyond facilitated by technical media.

Sam Ashley‘s career embodies perfectly the theme of the exhibition. Ashley’s work often engages with hallucination, coincidence and luck. The artist is particularly keen on exploring “spirit possession”.

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Sam Ashley, Ghost Detector, 1994-2005. Image courtesy HMKV

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Sam Ashley, Ghost Detector, 1994-2005. Image courtesy HMKV

His Ghost Detector is a musical instrument built by ‘hacking’ any electronic device that generates sound. Random lengths of wire are connected to randomly chosen places on its circuit board. The wires receive radiation of all kinds, and the results are translated into sound. The device becomes a “synthesizer”. It is unstable, responsive to slight influences and what it synthesizes can therefore not be controlled. A larger Ghost Detector randomly interconnects several such individual devices. Positioned all over a wall at HMKV, the network of “ghost detectors” read the “auras” of the audience. Rumour has it that the bodies or even the moods of visitors walking around the installation might affect the sonic output.

‘Awake Are Only the Spirits’ – On Ghosts and Their Media runs until 18 October 2009 at Hartware Medienkunstverein Phoenix Halle, Dortmund, Germany.

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