‘Medium: Paranormal Field Recordings and Compositions, 1901-2017’ is a sonic reaction to the Zuckerman Museum of Art’s ‘Medium’, a group exhibition of work by artists exploring the paranormal as their primary subject matter.
Medium considers how intangible vestiges of the past complicate, and in fact, haunt our contemporary world. A familiar interpretation of this persistent and disruptive presence is the ‘ghost.’ The Spiritualist movement of the late 1900s promulgated the belief that ghosts were not only able to communicate with the living, but were inclined to do so. Furthermore, those amongst the living known as mediums could communicate with them.
Sound recording has been intertwined with Spiritualism from its inception. Thomas Edison caused a stir in 1920 when he informed a journalist that he was working on a ‘spirit phone.’ With hindsight, it might appear that he had already achieved this with the invention of the phonograph in 1877; early recording technologies give us access to the voices and sounds of over 150 years, through many generations, and entire lives now passed.
‘Medium: Paranormal Field Recordings and Compositions, 1901-2017’ brings together original works from musicians, composers, and other sonic artists who operate within the liminal spaces between art and the paranormal; from clairaudient musical psychics to researchers of Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP). Also featured are compelling and previously unreleased field recordings from parapsychology archives in the US and Europe, including the infamous Enfield Poltergeist (1977-1979), and audio from a wax cylinder recording made in Siberia in 1901 that is considered by experts to be the very first EVP recording.