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Vocal Chords of the Spirits project is a contemporary take on the notorious Spirit Trumpets of the 19th century. Though an elaborated installation and sound performance, a new type of Séance is experimented to communicate with dead people.

What if the spiritism practice would still be present today and evolve with the new technological mediums that exist (such as the Instrumental Transcommunication). Is it believable the Spirit Trumpets devices get more contemporary too? Today, how would they work? What kind of sounds would be produced? And what effects would they create in the relation between the spaces and people?

Vocal Chords of the Spirits is inspired by the psychoacoustic and spatial manipulations of nineteenth century Spirit Trumpets. These strange devices were a technology purporting to enable communication with the dead, just as later we have sought ghosts in telephones and photography. Through an elaborated installation and sound performance a new type of séance explores the psychoacoustic suggestibility of our rational and irrational minds. A black trumpet spinning in space produces uncanny sounds that affect us physically. A white trumpet is an experimentation as a micro-achitecture, exploiting spatial uncertainties that disorient us, making us susceptible to suggestion. From a design perspective the work allows us to consider space itself as a tool for communication. The project illustrates the complex relation between the rational and irrational. Visitors to the installation imagined they heard voices. The term ‘vocal chords’ refers to the multiplicity of voices and sounds that are overlaid alongside each other in the same way that single musical notes when played together form a chord. These voices are always at work on us whether we are aware of them or not.

      Project in collaboration with

      Spaces & Communication Master Diploma Project, 2016. With distinctions.
      Tutor: Dominic Robson

      Photo credits
    • ©

      HEAD – Genève / Dylan Perrenoud