pensée 0007: Séances, Projections, Irradiations

Spirit Photography Seance

To prepare for the séance, one must be seated, the room darkened, the walls lined with hushed velvet. Hands are linked and minds too, small ritual gestures to quell fear and heighten expectation. The spirit arrives with a rumbling, it manifests itself of its own will. The eyes shut and vision is granted, like to all blind in time eternal. The white membrane quavers in this chamber of darkness and mystery, and the intimate dead relay their messages through voices in the walls. Past lovers and past lives, enemies and ancestors, primitives and spacemen make their visitation upon the screen, voices whispered or shouting, bearing images of other lives and other times. We sit. Seoir. In sitting our passivity opens the gates of reception to the whispers of these kindred spirits.

The séance’s form is the circle, the shape with no center, even if the voice exists only at one point, and this shape is the preparation for the spirit’s communing its images to the receiver sitting on the circumference.

The projection unlike the séance is a line, a beam, a ray of light emanating from god’s eye, a manifestation of his force and affirmation of his rule. The projection augurs, plans, figures. Here the sitters are arranged in perfect and equidistant rows, awed visages turned up to receive the light, mouths agape with expectation. The séance draws its mystic force from the reception of the spirit’s message, the projection draws its from the emanation, whether the shadows it casts upon the screen be spirits or demons.

Irradiation’s shape is the rectangle, in which the spirit is entrapped, a fission engine for the automaton to create its own light. The participants in the ritual are infinite and solitary, and kneel before their plasmic idols with unlinked hands, in communion only with the sole spirit who has no message to convey. Entrapped, the spirit irradiates already-lit rooms with looped communiqués, the only ones it knows. Without the Egyptian Night in which to drown, without the velvet womb of mystery in which to hide, the machinal channeling is but a psychographic sleight of hand, and the contact between spirit and flesh is but a proxy to guarantee the irradiation’s immanence.

Séances, projections and irradiations all meet the same expected end – the communion is complete, the link is broken, the world calls, and la séance est lévée.


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