A visit to a 19th Century medium was very much a theatrical experience. One would watch the medium to detect shifts in body language or voice that could be attributed to the controlling spirit. One would be on the lookout for trickery relative to the appearance of ghostly apparitions or disembodied voices.
A worn-out record needle, a punctured speaker, inflects the recording with its own stamp, and this distortion of source is considered a negative quality. In listening to a tape by Raudive, one is hyper-conscious of the fact that the distortion of the recording process is the primary experience. This distortion is much louder than the “voices” buried within it. This is so much the case that one is compelled to question whether there are voices there at all; they might only be projective audio hallucinations induced in the listener by the general uninflected nature of the white noise. The detection of voices in the tape hiss could be considered analogous to the recognition of imagery in Rorschach blots.
Weblink: Mike Kelley’s academic cut-up.
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