For the University of Kent Degree Show 2014, I created the character of Claire Voyant, a paranormal investigator. For a few months prior to the show, she carried out investigations into haunted locations in the Medway area, and explored the links between spirituality and technology.
In the Mezzanine, I exhibited The Floorboard Impromptu and The Spirit Battery. The circle of interconnected chairs present a space for a séance, the ropes harping back to the 18th century proposal of a ‘spirit battery’. The piece of music composed for the pianola quite literally plays the space and the hidden mysteries and spirits within it, as it was created from rubbings of the floorboards where the instrument now stands.
Outside, I had an airstream caravan. Inside the caravan, the video reimagined a séance which took place in The Historic Dockyard, broadcast on the popular TV programme Most Haunted. It explores modes of communication and coding and the blending of human and machine, and how these ideas can be presented both audibly and visually. The caravan was transformed into a portal to an alternate world – a hypnotising, psychedelic space reflecting the disengagement from real life that technology imposes upon us.
Claire Voyant invited the audience to take part in her investigation at The Historic Dockyard and if they experienced anything unusual, they were encouraged to put a marker on her map at the location where the activity occurred and to fill out an investigation report.