Vocal Chords of the Spirits project is an installation and sound performance set up as a proposal to make Spirit Trumpets work in our contemporary area. This allows to speculate about an irrational and disembodiment acoustic system of communication. Through mixing, processing and recording special soundtracks until listening Electronic Voices Phenomena, this project resuscitates the sounds of these trumpets.
During the industrial revolution, talking with the deads has been treated as a concrete questioning about disembodiment communications. Psychics and believers became sort of designers when they started to design devices to amplify that system of communication. The Modern Spiritualism was born. There is one object, Spirit Trumpet, which was precisely able to perform acoustic phenomena: Arthur C. Doyle described it as metallic conical body, which levited by itself during the séance and produced voices, melodies or others noises from the other world. After the industrial revolution, new technologies from this century were included into modern spiritualism, and changed the entire practice of communicate with the deads: before, the materialisation of spirits belongs to peculiar spaces as houses. But at that time, the technological devices like phonogram, telegraph or radio seemed to be meeting points between the deads and living people and allow spirits to be everywhere.
The spiritualist practice is still present today and is evolving with the technological mediums that exist. But if people wants to use contemporary Spirit Trumpets 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?
Sound is the starting point of this project. This main material is the important part because it’s conditioning people to a special situation. If the black trumpet is producing sounds in spaces, the white one is an experimentation as a micro-achitecture. What would happen if the scale changes? How people would interact with this structure? How would work the hypnotic effect on the beheviour of people? Then, the sound allows to build the new shapes of Spirit trumpets.
Several aspects of the Instrumental Transcommunication are translated in this sound performance. Each soundtrack is played and recorded again in situ on a metal structure which is doing circular movements. It disturbs directly these frequencies and become a medium for people who listen to Electronic Voices Phenomena.
Vocal Chords of the Spirits project is an illustration dealing about the complex relation between what we’re considering rational or irrational. Following this theory, the Modern Spiritualism dialogues of equals with technical innovations to better tangled together. In other words, the link between the occult and technology, which seems to be opposed at the first seen , is actually a unification of two parts of a whole thing: it’s even the foundation of what Sebastien Pluot calls the Modern Irrational. That means, sometimes, technical innovations couldn’t exist without being rely on occult beliefs, using them to make something rational emerge. (cf. the phone by Alexander Graham Bell) And then, engineering devices become the source of urban myths. In that sense, technological innovations feed a continuous dialogue with irrational beliefs. Like these latters serve as a starting point for sciences.
So, setting a sound process through analogical sounds and numeric records and technological replay system cast doubts on the existence of an irrational practice.
Spaces & Communication Master Diploma Project, 2016.
Tutor: Dominic Robson
© HEAD – Genève / Dylan Perrenoud