2014 - Home : Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts Fine Arts Gallery, New Brunswick, NJ.
"How accurately must one hear in order to hear the geometry of echoes in an old, particularly experienced house?
- Gaston Bachelard in The Poetics of Space
The following words were spoken through an Ovilus X device during a paranormal investigation of the house I grew up in on the night of October 18, 2013. The words are listed in the order they were received:
subtract dust lag chimp dune neck brother sallies natural coin mission police same you allow soccer park toward placebo money mistake probably end dollar gender each add Lynn column batteries corner dig read answer best stirred read P park spell without purr there less rope Shepard soak there suddenly P actually reach dollar see restore allow yet each level warrior New Moon lark her cry freeze Frank grasp restore her pond Frank *unknown word* me line December park ground mite loop lark never talk sent spare enter nose indicate venus decided anti reserve plant restore early gender soccer mother New Moon lord Beth gentle indicate while excel level book picture movie dominate George loss digital gravity New Moon attitude clairvoyant digital cost these while picture Steven flow end tragic tall movie you move allow end gender real allow raw gentle party school stone end allow picture book vast dominate gentle explain freeze book lord building sugar orb explain seek tied restore members while pop freeze sugar allow you vast wonder add gender each seek sip brother ground remember tied inches key piece attitude book yours building
The following words were spoken through the Ovilus iPhone app during a paranormal investigation at the house I grew up in on the night of October 19, 2013. The words are listed in the order they were received:
shove broken near self express pond ascend enjoy but soil pack carpet glove 0 saw body quick dance new north evening pulse hold mars fork Amanda kansas nerve name Derrick moment branches beg scrape sun pay boat grid town bath roll school ann off air form instead ten back 5 rate stair Harriet Mike town history details clip should now paper density truck bishop dollar best Ronda same etch major race real Nick Mark grab winter grave france compare fork broken friend other free Sheppard but pain some care earth play shoes 2 shape effect Jess Beth cord with neck frame liquid hello wife strange Rodger where water feet monday trap error grid wife dust king gender stick static france choke how you century brown snow can everyone goodbye face bible maze hi alter barn direct law mission case Larry Noah being sack have grandpa add write been minute doctor distance cut certain throw pack fast pay grandpa am this draw force except happy desert matter climb ice shape opposite house said again save eat frame barn two strength barrel supply me check man not hope murder turn major hey ahead cube cotton can second fraction light little three past lost anti dirt bottle branches children disturb Beth panel monday early compound area water freeze believe Rebecca average Nick decided pay last mass sea foreign one kim boy don't crash I history nose from age drive agreed Kate leg nice throat ground soon came focus Debbie matter bird dig time job ceiling face minute float anti march Chris never few us roll human seek see Mike art knee yell flow drank grain Harriet cave coin Karen store air beat area grid factors hidden brown talk battery frame confess Gail quarter other quick cellar beware shift drag bad sure nice squeeze tell walk sun off static Amanda include bird choke yes group beg pastor appear look brother now later steel dr. Derrick port dash confess idea shape who paper magnet barn Shepard drag rope school eighty pastor arrived William Charles beware cat save dirt roll made material chief else right grandma earth chair error barrel i'm lost fit being drift throw hang city what nose have ok ok travel bible living he's iron me sent twenty bear
^^ For the installation of the work surrounding my project of Home, I combined several elements that included documentation of a paranormal investigation of my childhood house through a video projection, the documentation photographs printed on transparency and shown on a light table, along with various personal artifacts from my childhood. Also in the gallery space was a live fog machine that produced clouds of fog from behind a large flat used as a video screen, which enabled an ethereal aesthetic along with the palpable thickening of the air. This allowed for the beams of light throughout the gallery to be seen as a physical element.
In addition, a live Ovilus X and a live P-SB7 Spirit Box were placed in the gallery. The Spirit Box scans radio frequencies at a rapid pace, that resulted with a resulting distinct sound that filled the space as a low background noise. The Ovilus was then left on in a passive manner, allowing for a continued reading of the environment and the energy levels within.
^^ The elements of sound and site are increasingly important pieces in my work. As a part of the installation surrounding my work in Home, there were two small video monitors in the small hallway that led up the main gallery space. They were positioned opposite each other on the two opposing walls. On these screens played a recording of a performance I did in the gallery space of a song that was influential to me while growing up in my childhood home. Aside from incorporating historical elements from my past, it is also important for me to gauge and interact with the sites of my present. Before I installed the show, I spent a night in the gallery space, in the dark, allowing it to become a physical and phenomenological element of the show itself. I allowed it to speak to me, quite literally at times, as I did my own ghost investigation of the space using the devices I described in relation to my other projects. The site becomes another collaborator in the work, where I allow it to become more than just empty space to be filled. Beyond that, the performance in the video above ran on a loop and was synced, so that the two versions of myself periodically sing to each other with the viewer meant to interrupt and perhaps partake in that duality. The singing echoed in the gallery space, mixing sonically with the other installed pieces. The words scrolling on the bottom of this video are the words spoken by the Ovilus X device, both on the night of the investigation of my childhood house and on the night of my investigation of the gallery space. (There is also a lyric to the song about being the age of 32 - I was serendipitously 32 at the time of this performance.)
. . . imagination augments the values of reality . . . transcending our memories of all the houses in which we have found shelter, above and beyond all the houses we have dreamed we live in, can we isolate an intimate, concrete essence that would be a justification of the uncommon value of all our images of protected intimacy?
There is no dearth of abstract, “world-conscious” philosophers who discover a universe by means of the dialectical game of the I and the non-I. In fact, they know the universe before they know the house, the far horizon before the resting-place; whereas the real beginnings of images, if we study them phenomenologically, will give concrete evidence of the values of inhabited space, of the non-I that protects the I.
. . . we shall see the imagination build “walls” of impalpable shadows, comfort itself with the illusion of protection - or just the contrary, tremble behind thick walls mistrust the staunchest ramparts . . . he experiences the house in its reality and in its virtuality, by means of thought and dreams . . . thus the house is not experienced from day to day only, on the thread of a narrative, or in the telling of our own story . . . all we communicate to others is an orientation towards what is secret without ever being able to tell the secret objectively.
Here space is everything, for time ceases to quicken memory . . . we are unable to relive duration that has been destroyed. We can only think of it in the line of an abstract time that is deprived of all thickness . . . indeed, as dreams go back so far into an undefined, dateless past that clear memories of our childhood home appear to be detached from us. Such dreams unsettle our daydreaming and we reach a point where we begin to doubt that we ever lived where we lived. Our past is situated elsewhere, and both time and place are impregnated with a sense of unreality.
For a knowledge of intimacy, localization in the spaces of our intimacy is more urgent than determination of dates . . . and all the spaces of our past moments of solitude, the spaces in which we have suffered from solitude, enjoyed, desired and compromised solitude, remain indelible within us, and precisely because the human being wants them to remain so.
Being is already a value. I will be an inhabitant of the world, in spite of the world.
‘(I am the space where I am.)’
- Gaston Bachelard in The Poetics of Space
Many, many thanks to the absolutely wonderful Bearfort Paranormal for all of their help, guidance and general enthusiasm on this project. You can click here to see an initial blog post with some photos they took from the preliminary investigation. You also can click here to see Bearfort's footage from the investigation itself, as well as footage from another investigation I did on my own in the gallery space in which this work was shown.
• A mysterious rumbling sound is driving residents of this Canadian city mad (via The Washington Post)
• Mysterious Hum Driving People Crazy Around the World (via LiveScience)
• A Mysterious Sound is Driving People Insane - And Nobody Knows What's Causing It (via Policy.Mic)
• Mysterious hum? Listen to spooky sound that baffled scientists for 40 years after new claims it is now recorded on camera (via Mirror News)
• Weird Noise: Strange Sounds Popping Up In Different Parts of Canada (via The Huffington Post)
• Mysterious hum driving people crazy around the world (via NBC News)
• What's that terrible noise?: All over the country people are plagued by a strange hum. Are their ears playing up, or is it something sinister? Emma Brooker investigates (via The Independent)
• Mysterious Hum: Viewers Guess What Causes the Strange Noise (via ABC News)
• Infrasound linked to spooky effects (via NBC News)
"The Murder House" by Jeff Maysh
• Living with the dead. (via Atlas Obscura)
• Cropsey (Home Site), (IMDB), (Wiki)
• Sheryl Crow, "Home," A&M Records, 1996.
• Science of the seance: why speaking to spirits is talking to yourself (via The Guardian)
• Ghost Boy Legend Lives On On Clinton Road (via Weird NJ)
• Jungle Habitat: Wild, Free and Abandoned (via Weird NJ)
• The Stone Living Room (via Weird NJ)
• UFOs Over The Wanaque Reservoir: The Roswell of the Ramapos (via Weird NJ)
The Skeptic's Corner:
• Anomalistic Psychology (via Wikipedia)
• What's Really Behind Paranormal Experiences (Hint: It's Not Ghosts) (via LiveScience)
• Ghosts 'all in the mind' (via BBC News)
• Exploration of Ghost-like Phenomena (via ABC News)
• Nationwide ghost debunking exercise launched by Professor (via The Telegraph)
• Meet the King of Internet Skeptics (via Vice)
• (And a rebuttal) Ghosts do exist! (via The Daily Mail)