Hostings 9 – Ghost-makers II

Hostings 9: Ghost-makers II
Hostings 8 and 9 demonstrated the uses of audio-visual technology and performance art in the creative ghost-making of visual artists – the dual absent and present nature of these mediums.

Birgitta Hosea (artist), Medium
Rosie Ward (artist), Artful Hauntings: How Artistic Intuition can Create New memories within Landscape
Guy Edmonds (film archivist), Séance du Cinema – A synthesis of domestic resurrection media

The second of two nights featuring presentations form artists who explore the desire to materialise what is absent by attempting to manifesting ghosts in their work.

Programme for Hostings 8: Ghost-makers 2
September 26th 2012
6.30pm – 9.00pm

Birgitta Hosea: Medium
“The cinema is the art of ghosts, a battle of phantoms… it’s the art of allowing ghosts to come back. Jacques Derrida”
Inspired by Victorian spirit photographs, this tableau vivant will explore the act of mediation that is involved in the digital image making process. Taking the role of a techno-medium, Birgitta Hosea will channel messages from dead actresses captured on film and from disembodied radio signals. This messages will be manifested through her multiple video doubles and live projections of automatic writing, ectoplasmic drawing and animation.
This live, intermedial performance is intended to draw parallels between a medium, such a s film or digital code, through which a message is encoded, stored and transmitted and the psychic medium, a person who transmits messages from the spirit world. It continues Birgitta’s interest in process based art works, which explore animation as a performative act rather than as an end product. Merging her own physical presence with that of the avatars she creates her live, post-animation practice investigates the performance if animation and the performative identity. In her work, she combines a range of media – drawing, manipulated video, paper sculpture, animation, holographic projection, live video feeds and interactive technology – with the corporeal body. Haunted by her creations, her presence is animated into existence and obliterated. She is both animator and animated, creator and projection screen, self and other.
Birgitta Hosea has exhibited widely in both the Uk and internationally and has been the recipient of numerous awards and artists residencies. Most recently she was artist in residence at Digital Arts and Animation Department, School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA and at the Centre for Drawing, Wimbledon College of Art. Recent exhibitions include Decode/ Recode at the University of Salford and D R A F T a collaboration with M K Palamar at Parasol Unit. Birgitta is Research Leader for Performance and Course Director of MA Character Animation at Central Saint Martins.

Rosie Ward: Artful Hauntings: How Artistic Intuition can Create New memories within Landscape
Within this paper I will describe my intuitive and pragmatic approach to making site-specific work. I rely predominantly upon my sensory-energetic response to the presence and energy within the site to inspire and lead the creative process.  To exemplify this I will focus specifically upon the work ‘Breathing Space’, a site-specific video projection installation performance created specifically for the site of the Arches (Glasgow), 16th century vaults located under Glasgow railway station (see image 01). Breathing Space was exhibited as part of New Territories, National Review of Live Art (2005 and 2010).
I shall describe the life of the work, beginning at my initial site visit where, upon entering the site, I immediately had a vision of a young girl hanging suspended in mid-air, gazing directly at the audience. I brought this vision to life through a technique of super-imposing the site directly back upon itself to create an illusion of existing reality. This exploits the uncanny effect when a pre-recorded virtual presence appears to be animate and live.
There are a number of theoretical concepts associated to this practice. I use a bricolage approach to ensure that no aspect of site goes unnoticed or un considered. Closely associated to spatialism and the brioculeur points of view, I take up Merleau Ponty’s phenomenology of perception to develop a super-imposed reality in which the audience understands the experience to be pre-recorded, and yet responds to it as if it were live. By placing this virtual experience within the context of 3D space (as appose to 2D flat screen), I also pose questions concerning our relationship to hybrid spaces, virtual and non-virtual.
Prior to exhibiting the work for a second time at the National Review of Live Art 2010, I overheard group of people within the festival audience discussing the ghost of a young girl who was said to haunt the corridor. Maybe the presence of the girl that I had super-imposed upon the space now lives on as a collective memory embedded in the site.
For further information please see:
Rosie is a practitioner currently developing her practice within a research context of a practice based PhD at the University of Sheffield supported by Sheffield Hallam.
Since completing her Masters in Scenography at Central St Martins in 2005 she has been Artist in Residence at the Cable Factory, Helsinki, in partnership with HIAP (Helsinki International Artist-in-residence Programme) and Arts Council of England.
She has been an AA2A artist in collaboration with BA Interactive Design, University of Lincoln and has since worked as visiting lecturer within MA design and BA Creative Advertising and visiting lecturer within Performance and Visual Art Dance, University of Brighton.

Guy Edmonds: Séance du Cinema – A synthesis of domestic resurrection media
In performance events which I have called Séance du Cinema I have linked together two late 19th century phenomena: The domestic film show and the spiritualistic séance. My intention is to remind us how film achieves a kind of resurrection of its subject, through the simple fact that the material of film can outlive the material of our human bodies. It can therefore be said, after the passage of time, to have provided what many spiritualists and psychical researchers were seeking: contact with dead loved ones. Someone filmed in 1900 can ‘live’ again today when we show that film record of them. This is such a basic function of film that it is now largely overlooked.
One reason for the neglect is that mainstream filmmaking became very much a device for telling stories rather than making documents for posterity. However within home movie making the idea of recording loved ones for posterity survived and, as a historian of amateur film and also a practicing film restorer, I would suggest that these ideas can come to form the beginning of a new theory of archiving: One which sees the film archivist as a kind of medium between modern day relatives and their filmed antecedents, partly because the technology of film is becoming increasingly esoteric to a modern day public.
However there is one particular class of home movie that poses a special problem. These are films that have somehow become separated from the family context that created them and perhaps reappear on a flea market stall. The anonymous undead people contained therein could be said to haunt those archivists and artists who sometimes work with these documents.
The Séance du Cinema attempted a synthesis of the resurrection media of film show and medium led séance: a psychic medium was invited to see what she could discern from the experience of watching such found home movies. Both medium and audience were challenged to divine something of the lost lives of these people and to help reconstruct the context which is so valuable to an archive document.
My proposal is to describe and critically evaluate these events which provoke some interesting questions about how we engage with archive imagery as well as further examining the figure of the archivist as a modern day medium.
Guy Edmonds is a graduate of the University of Amsterdam’s Preservation and Presentation of the Moving Image MA programme. He is an experienced film archivist and film restorer having worked for the Cinema Museum in London and the EYE Film Institute Netherlands in Amsterdam. Publications “Amateur widescreen; or, some forgotten skirmishes in the battle of the gauges”, Film History, Vol. 19 no. 4, 2007 “Associazione Home Movies, l’Archivio Nazionale del Film di Famiglia”, Film History, Vol. 19 no. 4, 2007 “Verborgen levens”, Skrien, Jaargang 40 nummer 4
“Necromancy at home and in the workplace”, Blik, October 2008. éance du Cinema events
Worm, Rotterdam. 10-12-08, Mediamatic, Amsterdam. 16-01-09