Noxious Sector Projects
312 S. Washington St.
Seattle WA 98104

Psychic Photography v2

Ted Hiebert, curator

If someone told you that your fantasies were important, would you believe them or would you just think that fantasies are nice stories but ones that, ultimately, don't really matter in any substantial way? It's a rhetorical provocation, and a set-up for a rhetorical question: what are fantasies worth? Does it matter that we are able to imagine stories, fantasy narratives in which the rules of the real world don't really apply in the ways we're used to? And, does it matter that some of these stories might even be impossible - not even remotely believable - except that insofar as they are stories, they begin to ask us for a strange form of belief nonetheless?

In the 1960s there was a story of the impossible - the story of a man who claimed he could project his thoughts directly onto photographic film. He wasn't alone in his belief, and among those who refused the obvious skepticism were a psychiatrist and a camera. The story is that of Ted Serios - psychic photographer - a man who worked as a hotel bellhop but who refused to be subsumed by the reality of the everyday. Instead, Serios let his mind wander, taking on a reality of its own and defying what we normally think of as possible. Somehow, Serious found a way to record his thoughts, strangely projecting them from his imagination directly onto instant film. The strongest advocate for the images was the psychiatrist Jules Eisenbud who conducted a series of experiments, designed to test and, ostensibly, prove that the Serios images were examples of psychic manifestation - photographs imagined into existence.

Psychic Photography v2 is a speculative project, as much a thought experiment as an exercise in impossibility. Loosely based on tests conducted by Eisenbud and Serios, participants are asked to spend 5 minutes imagining a picture that they have drawn, at which time a photograph of their forehead is taken - as they imagine their pictures into the camera. The photograph and the drawing are displayed as participant contributions to the project.