You can take a picture of the ghost
Photographic series, 4 pieces
The photo series You can take a picture of the ghost is a photographic documentation of a séance that the artist attended as a curious onlooker. Upon arriving, she was prompted by the hosts to photograph a ghost; catalysing an earnest attempt to capture mysterious phenomena. The photographs depict the results: a wall in a courtyard, an empty chair in a garden – absence.
The peculiar and confusing psychological dynamic of a séance to an uninitiated personoutsider was documented by the 19th Century anthropologist Edward Tylor. In his diary he described his participation in a séance in which his disbelief was addressed directly by the medium, who wrote the words "we cannot manifest through this medium" on paper - putting Tylor into what he characterised as a state of "hysterical simulation”. (Schuettpelz 2010: 162)1)
The unsuccessful ghost photos fail as objective evidence of an invisible appearance, but in causing confusion they succeed in rendering visible a communicational situation lead by expectance, convention, and convergency.
Schüttpelz, Erhard. Animism meets Spiritualism: Edward Tylor’s “Spirit Attack,”Auf der Schwelle zwischen Animismus und Spiritismus. Der Geisterangriff auf Edward Tylor (London 1872). IIn: Animismus. Revisionen der ModerneVolume I. Edited byHrsg. von Irene Albers und Anselm Franke. Zürich: diaphanes, 2012Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2010