see everything truly amazing (thoughtography)


We take for granted the speed at which images of any place or thing are available to us. Using Google's Image Search, we are only a few keystrokes away from seeing anything we can think of, anything that exists in this world or others that has been seen. These photographs are an attempt to take an experience currently taken for granted and return it to its unbelievable (spiritual) state.

In 1854 at the birth of Spiritualism in upstate NY, the Davenport brothers climbed into a box they called a Spirit cabinet and communicated with otherworldly spirits. People didn't understand the trick so they believed. In 1964 a Chicago bellhop named Ted Serios discovered the unbelievable ability to produce images on Polaroid film using only his mind. Thoughtography. His images, a record of the unbelievable. A document of faith.

I lock myself in a room size box alone, armed with a Polaroid camera and a chair to sit in. The box is a crudely assembled room constructed of plywood and two by fours. It is propped up on saw horses to show that there are no wires connected to it, no trap doors built in or any trap floors by which I can escape. 150 years ago this box would have been called a Spirit Cabinet.

Once inside alone, I concentrate on something that I want to see. A target image. Utilizing wireless networked technology hidden in the box I access Google's Image Search, release the shutter, expose the film, and exit with a photograph of that thing. Thoughtography.

Think of the image, see the image. Unbelievable just like Ted Serios.

This piece was included in the 2010 group show Magicality curated by William Powhida and Eric Trosko at Platform Gallery in Seattle.

NFTs of the full set of 40 images from that execution of the piece are available here.