Ourself Behind Ourself, Concealed...

Ethereal Whispers from the Dark Side, Marina Warner

In the spring of 2001, an American scientist, in London for a conference, made a startling claim on the Today programme of the BBC: transplanted organs could transfer memories from one person to another. He knew a little girl who had received the heart of a murder victim, and was thereafter able to recall the circumstances of her donor's death. She had even identified the murderer. The programme's presenter was incredulous, and challenged the guest with all the considerable forensic skills he could muster. But the scientist stuck fast to his vision of transferred consciousness, which he called 'cellular memory'; he was standing by it, against the views of almost all transplant doctors and patients, none of whom have reported any such possibility. What was more revealing, however, was the interest in 'cellular memory' by a self-consciously balanced, highly esteemed serious programme; that this alternative thinker wasn't penned up in the pages of Bizarre or the Fortean Times, but was being given prime time. His appearance showed how deeply our ideas of person and self have altered since the unique, individual body-soul integrity that I for one was brought up to believe in my Catholic girlhood.

But 'cellular memory' is only one hypothesis, amongst many. Tony Oursler has long been fascinated by the proliferating versions of human consciousness, of its powers and connections. He's not offering a solution, let alone a dogma or orthodoxy; his muttering automata and dummies and dolls leave rather an eddying sense of in determinacy, vagueness, mystery. His figures are animated, sometimes performed by single, existing individuals. But these 'effigies' - his preferred term - also act as technological transmitters/receivers/channelers. They're ventriloquised from a distance by other voices, other presences, through instruments that 'beam them up', media that belong to the richly varied panoply that human ingenuity has devised to probe the invisible, the inaudible, the intangible.

First the telescope, then the microscope, revealed unimaginable universes crowded and teeming with life in dimensions beyond the reach of the naked eye; the barometer registered impalpable changes in air pressure. But it wasn't until the invention of aural probes and wave detectors that the invisible air itself became a seething Babel, moving to a complex interplay of forces and signals. This is Oursler territory: beyond the spectacle and the scopic, vibrating to the hum of the imponderable powers that govern space, time and our living presence within their constraints. The air began yielding up all manner of mysteries to the new diagnostic tools devised to detect and inventory its messages. These weren't making themselves manifest as mimic or figural images, representing something recognisable, but struck human consciousness as noise - at first unintelligible, then turning out to be coded in waves, in photons, in pulses.[1] The music of the spheres was tuned rather differently than Pythagoras or Plato and their successors had imagined.

However, nineteenth and twentieth-century physical discoveries, for all their progressive and scientific character, continued to be bent through the lens of metaphysics: existing languages of philosophical speculation provided the necessary ways to think about the edges of knowledge and the borderland where natural and supernatural meet. Through his curiosity about experiments in this field, Tony Oursler has developed a profound, original and imaginative relationship to its history and its processes. As his Time Line reveals, mesmeric theories were woven into concepts of electricity; similarly, the discovery of x-rays, facilitated by William Crookes's experiments with vacuums and established by Wilhelm Co nrad Rontgen in 1895, the identification of radio waves and the subsequent invention of the wireless, of telegraphy, of the telephone, produced a fevered - and delighted - search to penetrate the unseen. Channels of communication through the ether, presented themselves in potentia as deliriously numberless; they became intertwined with the physical possibility of moving objects at a distance by finding some vehicle analogous to radio waves. It was in the 1890s, that the prefix tele-, used in so many optical and other probes, was also attached to telepathy, by the philosopher Frederic Myers, and to terms coined by the Society for Psychical Research, of which he was a founder, such as tele-kinesis.[2]

It's difficult from our hooked up, www.com vantage point today to imagine how exciting, fascinating, and extreme seemed the possibilities that these instruments opened up for their first users. The new media left the trace of their passage: indeed their activity became legible only through such traces. Radio waves could not be grasped by human senses: only the effects of the new methods of transmission, as the mark of a needle quivering on a drum as the taps came through, as the translated and disincarnate voices from the radio set. Visible verification surrendered its hegemony to other warranties of presence - sonic, and haptic.[3] Material impressions of the new media's work were in high demand. In the absence of external sensory means to verify the principle at work, a dependence on second-order technological proof of hidden energy arose, as in the photograph or the x-ray plate. The extension of the word 'medium' itself, in the early 1850s, to someone with paranormal powers, reveals the parallelism perceived between the vehicle - the ether and its interpreters and their products. The new technologies offered a model for expression that was extended to phenomena as yet beyond the reach of scientific empiricism. When the first Spiritualist phenomena were reported, the revenants communicated in raps; it is unlikely to be coincidence that the early telegraph was using Morse code for its first messages. Wireless telegraphy was invented at the same time and inaugurated in Rochester near the home of the first psychic mediums, the Fox sisters. Early photographers captured the aura or etheric body of their subjects, or of their subjects' loved ones: the popularity of this form of psychic souvenir spreads with the gradual accessibility of the high street photographic parlour and the medium's rapidly burgeoning popularity. The ghostly quality of the image on the glass plate and the monochrome print lent itself to picturing spirit. William James put his finger on the similarity of the scientific and psychic experiments as perceived at the time, when he wrote that phenomena like automatic writing were 'instruments of research, reagents like litmus paper or the galvanometer for revealing what would otherwise be hidden’.[4] 

Tony Oursler is one of several contemporary artists who have annexed the latest instruments of global communications to explore the relationship between individual consciousness and the noise of the universe. His work consistently probes the convergence of physics and experiences of the psyche. As A.K. Coomaraswamy advocated so eloquently in his studies of the spiritual in art, aesthetics should not be regarded as a branch of sensation or feeling, but of thinking: making art means making a language, evolving a means of expression, a means of puzzling out ideas and deepening knowledge.[5] Artists today increasingly respond to the history of ideas, exploring forms of representation with awareness of their past uses, developing a critique as they press out new templates: Oursler is at one and the same time an ironic commentator on psychological theories and an adept of some of its weirdest and most wonderful propositions.

Nineteenth-century technologies added a new language of haunting and possession, even as they also contributed to unsettling notions of the integrated person. Tony Oursler for example took the idea of the 'influence machine' itself from a device which was invented in 1706 by a student of Isaac Newton called Francis Hauksbee; it consisted of a globe which spun, crackling and sparking as it did so. In turn, this machine inspired the title of a celebrated article by Victor Tausk, delivered in Vienna in 1918 to the Psychoanalytical Society, in which he discussed several patients who believed they were under the influence of some device or other, and suffered from hallucinations, locutions, a despairing sense of losing control of their own being: 'The schizophrenic influencing machine', writes Tausk, 'is a machine of mystical nature. The patients are able to give only vague hints of its construction. It consists of boxes, cranks, levers, wheels, buttons, wires, batteries, and the like... The main effects... are... It makes the patients see pictures. It produces, as well as removes, thoughts and feelings by means of waves or rays or mysterious forces... In such cases, the machine is often called a suggestion-apparatus. The machine serves to persecute the patient and is operated by enemies…’[6]

The cases Tausk described were among the first of their kind to be analysed; the paper is a classic of psychoanalytical literature, alongside Daniel Paul Schreber'sMemoirs of My Nervous Illness (1903), in which a High Court judge in Germany recalled his mental agony, break-downs and hospitalisation over a period of some twenty years at the turn of the century. Schreber's long, minutely detailed, perfect simulacrum of a calmly rational memory act was cited enthusiastically by Freud, Jung and, more recently, Gilles Deleuze, as the most remarkable personal testimony of derangement, and he too invokes waves and vibrations - the new manifestation of the physical universe - to describe his mental states: 'Apart from normal human language', he wrote, 'there is also a kind of nerve-language... that is to say a human being causes his nerves to vibrate... in my case, however... my nerves have been set in motion from without incessantly and without any respite.’[7]

The stories of patients whose work was seen recently in the travelling show of the Prinzhorn collection, also calls on new technologies - x-rays, radio, telegraphy - to account for experiences of double or triple personality, of voices (locutions, in the theological phrase) overheard that direct the sufferer, of possession and trance. • [8] Beyond the boundaries of mental disturbance, in established religious practice, similar metaphors are also used to describe connections with inspiration and the divine: in Baptist ceremonies of glossolalia, otherwise known as speaking in tongues, for instance, God's messages come down the 'heavenly telephone'. But the question of madness on the one hand, or Spiritualist or other supernatural belief systems on the other does not arise within the boundaries set by Oursler's work, because it doesn't make claims to represent something that the artist has experienced exclusively, or to which he has some kind of special access: Oursler isn't claiming to be a magus. He's a child of the Seventies, of the television age, the same age as systems such as cable and satellite and the web. The polyphonic aural universe fascinates Oursler as deeply as visual signals. In his art, he listens in and collects evidence of the senses in the altered conditions of consciousness that now prevail.

In a statement about The Influence Machine, he observes: 'Telecommunication systems such as the Internet are the end-product of a long drive towards the current paradox of mind/body separation... This paradox of the dis-corporative impulse, the shedding of the physical body for the ethereal utopian virtual presence and the promises of ultimate interconnectivity is at once linked to the fear of the void, isolation, and disassociative conditions... Today when the average person finds themselves increasingly engaged with mimetic systems, as they move from telephone to television to Internet, and back again, the metaphor of the uncanny technological equation between life and death is all the more relevant.'

Television, his art implies, has become the influencing machine on all our minds. It also sets the scene for a new afterlife, where the past meets the future and turns into an ever repeating, eternal present: 'Television archives store millions of images of the dead, which wait to be broadcast... to the living... at this point, the dead come back to life to have an influence... on the living... Television is, then, truly the spirit world of our age. It preserves images of the dead which then can continue to haunt us... it also gives us the phenomenon of living ghosts, or stars as we like to call them...'

Several writers who explore human character, starting in the Victorian era and continuing today, have proposed a form of personality which utterly breaks with the Judaeo-Christian compact of body and soul in the idea of the person and works instead with the idea that individuals can become possessed by some other being, or 'alter'. In Spiritualism, the 'gifted' individual not only becomes subject to a 'spirit control', but the spirit control might then itself mediate the ghosts of yet more people until a seance can become quite crowded.

A double - a self behind a self, concealed - haunts fantasy literature and fairy tales; its spectral presence moves eerily through several marvellous tales of E.T.A. Hoffmann and Edgar Allan Poe, and inhabits the large and various fiction of possession, from the prodigious frenzy of James Hogg's novel of 1824, Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, to the cult classic that inspired the film Blade Runner, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. Since Hogg wrote his extraordinary study of religious fanaticism and derangement, figures of multiple identity, of shared and scattered personal memories, of zombie thefts of soul and spirit, of out-of-the-body wanderings and split existences have passed from the margins of literature through the main doors of the canon, inspiring plots in writers as diverse as R.L. Stevenson, Lewis Carroll (not only the Alice books, but the later, neglected two-volume Sylvie and Bruno). For example, Emily Dickinson, in a poem of around 1863, writes about confronting an uncanny alter ego; presciently, she locates this self, not in the exterior world of ghosts and spectres, but within: inside the mind, inside the self. This inner spectre lurks far more disturbingly, she writes, than the phantoms of church or graveyard:

One need not be a Chamber - to be Haunted 

One need not be a House -
The Brain has Corridors - surpassing
Material Place –

Far safer, through an Abbey gallop,
The Stones a'chase -
Than Unarmed, one's a 'self encounter-

Ourself behind Ourself, concealed
Should startle most –

– Emily Dickinson

Margaret Atwood quotes the poem as an epigraph to her compelling novel, Alias Grace (1997). Set against a Spiritualist background in Canada and the United States, it's the story of the most famous Canadian murderess, who was 16 in 1863 when she killed two people, and it proposes, highly convincingly, through the sheer narrative power of the writing, that she was actually led by the ghost of a dead friend to avenge her and commit the crimes. Alias Grace, with its doubling title, depends on belief in spirit possession and multiple personality seen through the lens of nineteenth-century psychology; Atwood places the birth of psychoanalysis clearly within the bounds of supernatural theories of mind.

The condition that has above all fascinated Tony Oursler is Multiple Personality Disorder, which was described in the case study of Helene Smith, made by Theodore Flournoy in Switzerland in 1900. [9] The resulting book is called Des Indes au Planete Mars as Helene enfolded within her, Flournoy recorded, the personae of an Indian Princess as well as a Martian leader: Helene could inhabit her several identities with conviction: she could speak in a Martian tongue and made detailed drawings of the Martians' mode of travel: a spinning, hand-held fan somewhat like a child's windmill. Years later, the American psychologist described the case of another young woman who contained even more identities: it was he who gave the syndrome its name, Multiple Personality Disorder, and its symptoms have now been presented in numerous more cases as well, of course, as inspiring supernatural fictions, with the horror impresario Stephen King setting the pace.

Oursler is fascinated by MPD, not only as a clinical condition but as a state of consciousness that might be available to anyone through trance, performance, and inspiration. Historically, the state of possession has not been diagnosed as mental illness: to call upon only one scene, for example, Virgil in the Aeneid passionately evokes the frenzy of the Sybil of Cumae, as the god takes possession of her and speaks through her in her echoing cave; the frenzy makes her rave and froth, but, for the Romans, doesn't define her as mad. Oursler has worked for some time with Tracy Leipold, who can produce different voices and excavate different personalities within herself, at will. Oursler both prompts, sustains and records her glossolalia. He wants to register and transmit the noise inside the brain and out: the crackling and sparking of consciousness, including the individual unconscious, as well as the messages of interstellar frequencies, with all the gibberish and distortions, interference and jumble that past models of self have screened out. His babble and mutterings turn to the imagery of computer communication to create a sound poem that take the venerable nonsense tradition in the direction of paranoid, psychological portraiture: 'you catch me like a virus from a sound from a bird from its voice through the air from a bug caught inside, inside you, I can hide, let me hide, inside, I'll be quiet. I'll be watching...'

This area of interest seems to be shedding its embarrassing undertones to take its place as part of the urgent need for the ‘re-enchantment of the world'. Amongst artists and writers today, this shift results, I feel, from the larger question with which they are engaged: who or what is a person? The question is related to agency: who I am matters, affects, in more ways than one, what I make. And the converse: what I make matters with regard to who I am. The paradox of Duchamp's urinal, that the artist need only sign a work to make it art, raised the question of authorship in ways that challenge the death of the author, proclaimed nearly half a century later by Roland Barthes. Issues of authorship and its implied origin in authority require clarification of identity: it is not possible to copyright some act of making as all your own work - unless you define the boundaries of yourself. But that definition is slippery, and artists are increasingly puzzling out its difficulty: the performances of Cindy Sherman for the camera take her through a baffling range of personae in which her features both become transformed and yet remain at the same time distinctive. Michael Landy's installation, Break Down, extended the concept of self through all his goods and chattels and demonstrated his authority - his authorship - by destroying them systematically, in a modern auto-da-fe of consumerist consciousness. For Sherman, the selves are manifest in the protean face and body; for Landy, he can renew himself through discarding all his goods.

By contrast, Tony Oursler is inquiring into inner selves. He is compelled by the twinned mysteries of consciousness and communications technology; in taking the distinctive step of freeing the image from the video monitor or sonic device, he has truly magnified the eerie atmosphere that his cast of disembodied messengers cast about them. [10] Indoor pieces, such as Stone Blue (1995) and Insomnia (1996) include floating, distorted faces speechifying and rambling in Oursler's characteristic post-Dada techno-babble. They extend into a metaphysical dimension the existential riddle posed by cartoon characters, who exist only in 'picture-flesh', walking talking apparitions, possessing no referent in the actual world. Oursler's work with dummies and automata and projections realises the point where spooks and spectres coincide with the phantoms of film, of LEDS, and of other digital means.[11] Analogously, whereas an eighteenth-century automaton mimicked real life and inspires delight, wonder and fear through the disturbing convincingness of its life-likeness.[12] Oursler's permutations of the effigy's possibilities produce their peculiar frisson because the conditions of life are discarded, its norms exploded: huge eyeballs disconnected from any body or person, weep and laugh, on their own, as if alive; limbless, limp, tiny rag dolls blossom with huge speaking heads.

With The Influence Machine, Tony Oursler has moved on from the historical development of automata and audio animatronics, to work another kind of conjuring the illusion of life. In this installation, he revels in the possibilities of another species of 'immortal' created by mechanical illusion: the ghost.

The Influence Machine dramatises spirit visions and visits: Oursler draws on existing accounts of messages transmitted from other worlds and departs from conventional orthodoxy about mind-body unity, and space-time confines. In this outdoor urban phantasmagoria, the artist beamed, onto trembling foliage and interlaced branches, and high up onto the surrounding buildings of an urban park/garden, looming, vast close-ups of out-of-body messengers, men and women with stories to tell of wanderings in other worlds. They describe out of body states and encounters that defy conventional physics. Oursler projected, on one wall of the square a huge fist rapping, as in the first Spiritualist seances, when the Fox sisters reported ghosts knocking for admittance. In the central enclave of the garden/park, the artist conjured up wraiths and mediums on to the trees and even on to smoke, so that they dissolved and expanded, loomed and shrank, vaporised and materialised, in a sequence of hypnotic anamorphoses. Oursler's mimicry of seance ramblings surpasses most of the originals that have been recorded; yet the effect is so accomplished, so apparently authentic, and his collaborators' performance so convincing that it was only when I read the transcripts that I realised he had made them up, that he had created a collage of quotes and samplings and historical data about the history of disembodiment.

The spectacle was inspired by the earliest Gothic popular entertainment, thePhantasmagoria. Soon after the Terror, in the same period when the waxworks Chamber of Horrors were beginning to draw crowds as well, the Phantasmagoria, or commercial light show, was principally developed through the work of two innovative and spirited showmen or 'galanty men': Etienne-Gaspard Robertson, Belgian-born in 1763, and his younger contemporary, Paul de Philipsthal - also known as Philidor, who was a friend of Madame Tussaud's, who began his version in 1801, and toured widely around Europe, including London and Edinburgh.[13] In his engaging memoirs, Robertson describes his brilliant technical innovations [14], and Oursler, in tribute to Robertson and in all consciousness of his legacy, has borrowed and adapted many of them for The Influence Machine.

Robertson above all was a brilliant innovator: he thought of blacking out the background, so that the projected images would appear to float free in space; he coated the thin, gauzy screen with wax to give it greater translucency and mounted the projector onto rollers so that by pulling it back from the screen, the image would appear to lunge forward at the audience. • [15] He experimented with arrangements of lenses and different percussion to create certain special effects, including using a Franklin glass harmonica to strike ghostly notes, something Oursler has also introduced into other works. Above all, in his quest to represent the spectral, Robertson hit upon the idea of projecting onto smoke. One of the few painted slides to survive from his great invention shows the face of Danton from his death mask: as he had only recently been guillotined, the sight of his severed head rising flickeringly above his casket in the curls of the smoke must have been indeed eerie. This Robertsonian invention inspired one of the marvellous effects in The Influence Machine, which involves the image appearing and speaking in a veil of smoke. There was no loss of focus as it came and went along the whole length of the beam, so the phantom face appeared to hang in the air in different places, all the time uttering one of Tony Oursler's collages of inner hauntings.
In 1799 Robertson rented an abandoned Gothic convent - the Couvent des Capucines - in Paris, dressed it in antique bric-a-brac and black drapes, painted it with hieroglyphs which, he wrote, seemed 'to announce the entrance to the mysteries of Isis', lit it weakly with 'a sepulchral lamp', and maintained before the spectacle began 'an absolute silence'. The show began with a speech: 'Citizens and gentlemen', he declared, 'It is...a useful spectacle for a man to discover the bizarre effects of the imagination when it combines force and disorder; I wish to speak of the terror which shadows, symbols, spells, the occult works of magic inspire...' He then ended with a flourish, 'I have promised that I will raise the dead and I will raise them.'
The material of the Phantasmagoria was Gothic: dancing skeletons, living dead, phantom white ladies and bleeding ghosts, a population of supernatural visitors, in short. One member of the audience at a London seance by Philidor in 1825 gave a lively account of The Red Woman of Berlin, who at the climax of the show was propelled to rush at the crowd, looming ever larger: 'The effect was electrical, and scarcely not be imagined from the effect of a written description. I was myself one of an audience during the first week of its exhibition, when the hysterical scream of a few ladies in the first seats of the pit induced a cry of "lights" from their immediate friends, which it not being possible instantly to comply with, increased into
a universal panic, in which the male portion of the audience, who were ludicrously the most vociferous, were actually commencing a scrambling rush to reach the doors of the exit, when the operator, either not understanding the meaning of the cry, or mistaking the temper and feeling of an English audience, at this unlucky crisis once more dashed forward the Red Woman. The confusion was instantly at a height which was alarming to the stoutest; the indiscriminate rush to the doors was prevented only by the deplorable state of most of the ladies; the stage was scaled by an adventurous few the Red Woman's sanctuary violated, the unlucky operator's cavern of death profaned, and some of his machinery overturned, before light restored order and something like an harmonious understanding with the cause of alarm.

One has to remember that the blow-up, the zoom, the close-up, the general magnification of the image by projection with which the movies have entirely familiarised us were first realized by these proto-cineastes, the phantasmagorists.

The new taste for the ghostly and the gruesome in public entertainment at the turn of the century coincides with another, crucial development in ways of seeing, most powerfully expressed in Goya's great sequence of fantasy images, the Caprichos. The series opens with the famous engraving, The Dream of Reason Produces Monsters(1797-99), in which Goya represents the melancholy brooding of his own imagination, thereby crystallising a shift from conceiving the imagination as an organ that processes external perceptions to one that summons internal fantasies. The fantastic moves from a higher - or lower - supernatural world into a world of personal visions. However impalpable or imponderable, divine beings, angels and devils existed in the Christian order of creation, independently of an individual's imagination. The enlightened view that optical phenomena were natural, scientifically produced by human skill in interpretation or staging, had the effect of situating the fantastic in a new, paradoxically modern and wholly unstable habitation in the single mind of a person, in the imagination; it becomes one with the subject or dreamer or melancholic or writer or artist's vision and it no longer reveals a true if shadowy world beyond this world.
So, while impresarios like Robertson and Madame Tussaud were perfecting brilliant new technologies to commemorate the departed and make the dead visible again amongst us, the spiritual system that had upheld beliefs in the independent and external existence of ghosts, inhabiting the afterlife, was being undermined. This is what Terry Castle, in her entertaining book The Female Thermometer (1995), argues: that the eighteenth century invented the uncanny. 'The historic Enlightenment internalization of the spectral-' she writes, 'the gradual reinterpretation of ghosts and apparitions as hallucinations, or projections of the mind - introduced a new uncanniness into human consciousness itself."[16]

Terrors of the night, spectres and phantoms ceased to be thought of as immortal souls of people who are wandering around in hell, or purgatory, or perhaps even in heaven, created by God. They were beginning to be understood, as Goya implies so strongly, as fantasies in the head, what the writer on consciousness Antonio Damasio calls 'the movie-in-the-brain'[17]

The point of invoking this historical shift here is that Tony Oursler's The Influence Machine, created in the new millennium, derives from a clinically paranoid, disturbed, fragmented concept of human personality. As in its psychoanalytical origins, it projects extreme and unusual cases of mental disturbance into the common arena of experience and reads human personality in general in its anamorphic shadow. The story Oursler tells in The Influence Machine, and in numerous pieces that preceded it, is one of romantic individuality decentred, evacuated and occupied, haunted and unhoused, the self multiplied and scattered, cellular memories rampant and contradictorily on the loose inside the mind and body of a person; Oursler presents this story as generic in our time. The Influence Machine is no less than a mise-en-scene of contemporary existence, in his words, a psycho-landscape.

Tony Oursler's work, which is using the new media and new concepts of physics and psychology, is continuing the inquiries of a long and great tradition of natural magic. But there has been another crucial shift, since Robertson created the Phantasmagoriain Paris in the 1790s and Goya drew the monsters in his own head. The showman Robertson believed he was throwing light, in the spirit of the new age, on the processes by which superstitious credence in miracles and devils and spectres had duped people, and Goya's ironies and satire struggled against fantasy and credulity. By contrast, the spectres that haunt us now have achieved the unsettling cartoon being of media reality; they have also regained their mystery and power to disturb. For, as one of Tony Oursler's apparitions says: 'It sure is dark out here'.


1.See the catalogue Noise, eds. Simon Shaffer and Adam Lowe, Kettle's Yard, Cambridge, 2000.
2. See Michael Roth, 'H,ysterical Remembering', in Modernism/Modernity 3:2 (1996), pp. 1-30; Lawrence Rainey, 'Taking Dictation: Collage Poetics, Pathology, and Politics', Modernism/Modernity s:z (1998), pp. 123-153; Roger Luckhurst '(Touching on) Tele-Technology', in Applying: To Derrida, eds. John Brannigan, Ruth Robbins, Julian Wolfreys (London, 1996), pp. 171-183; Steven Connor, 'The Machine in the Ghost: Spiritualism, Technology, and the "Direct Voice"', in Ghosts, eds. Buse and Stott, London, 1999, pp. 203-225.
3. Steven Connor emphasizes the aural desires, arguing, 'an observational, calculative scientific culture organized around the sequestering powers of the eye began in the last quarter of the nineteenth century to produce new forms of technology especially communicative technology, which themselves promoted a reconfiguring of the sensorium in terms of the ear rather than the eye.' I am very grateful to Steven Connor, for letting me see his unpublished paper, 'Voice, Technology and the Victorian Ear', from the conference Science and Culture 1780-1900, Birkbeck College, London, September, 1997. His book Dumbstruck: A Cultural History of Ventriloquism, Oxford University Press, 2000, came out after this essay was written.
4. William James, 'Frederic Myers's Service to Psychology' [1911], in Essays in Psychical Research, Cambridge, Mass., 1986, p. 196; quoted Rhodri Hayward,Popular Mysticism and the Origins of the New Psychology, 1880-1910, PhD Thesis, University ofLancaster, 1995, p. 133.
5. A.K. Coomaraswamy, 'A Figure of Speech or a Figure of Thought?' in The Door in the Sky: Coomaraswamy on Myth and Meaning, ed. Rama P. Coomaraswamy, Princeton, 1997, pp. 113-142.
6. Victor Tausk 'On the Origin of the "Influencing Machine" in Schizophrenia', The Psychoanalytic Quarterly, Vo!. 2, 1933, pp, 519-556, 521. I am grateful to Mark Cousins for this reference.
7. Daniel Paul Schreber, Memoirs of My Nervous lllness, New York, 2001, pp. 54-55.
8. Beyond Reason, Art and Psychosis. Works from the Prinzhorn Collection. Hayward Gallery, London, 1996.
9. Theodore Flournoy, From India to the Planet Mars,ed. Sonu Shamdasani, Princeton, 1994.
10. See 'In the Green Room: Tony Oursler and Tracy Leipold in Conversation with Louise Neri', Parkett 471996, pp. 21-27.
11. See Donald Britton, 'The Dark Side of Disney', in Bernard Welt, Mythomania: Fantasies, Fables and Sheer Lies in Contemporary American Popular Art, Los Angeles: Art Issues Press, 1996, especially p. 122 for a sharp discussion of cartoon reality.
12. Daniel Tiffany, Toy Medium: Materialisation and Modem Lyric, University of California Press, 2000.
13. The cinema historians Laurent Mannoni in France, David Robinson and Tom Ruffles have written vividly about their spectacular experiments, while the magic lanternist Mervyn Heard has researched their methods in order to recreate them today.
14. Memoires recreatifs, scientifiques et anecdoctiques d'un physicien-aeronaute, Paris, 1830.
15. Early cinema drifted, as if naturally, to depicting the inner world of imagination. Think of pioneers like Georges Melies, who filmed a journey to the moon as well as the frolics offairies, or great silent movies like F.W. Murnau's vampire movie Nosferatuor Robert Wiene's The Cabinet of Or Caligari.
16. Terry Castle, The Female Thermometer: Eighteenth Century Culture and the Invention of the Uncanny, Oxford University Press, 1995.
17. Antonio Damasio, The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness, Harvest Books, London, 2000.