Joan of Art : An Art School Ghost

Interventions that explore the presence of the ‘artschool ghost’ Joan Charnley, an alumna inspired by an arts education that shaped her life. The interventions allow visitors to get to know Joan through her haunted presence and explore research around potential for the design of paranormal phenomena (in direct response to the conference paper ‘Para-design: Engaging the Anomalous’). As visitors explore the levels of the gallery space they will encounter Joan through a series of sonic, sensory and apparitional experiences.

Work exhibited in the Radical Response exhibition alongside the IASDR conference in Manchester in September 2019.

Portable mediumistic props to transform architectural spaces. These objects conceptually colonise the functional possibility of spaces. The user experiences a new narrative wherein space becomes haunted. At Manchester School of Art these scrying devices become the portals from which to make contact with the Art School Ghost ‘Joan of Art’ (Joan Charnley).

APPARITIONER - A clairvoyant device that channels personal artefacts into a mystic mist, acting as a pareidolia interface from which to read expressions, conversations and messages from the residing spirit.

PSYCHO-MATIC - A psychic divination device: though gazing into the scrying mirror over Joan’s home-made fancy dress moustache, wearing her scent and experiencing periphery light interruptions from a slide of one of her many expeditions, the viewer glimpses her presence.

SPIRITOPHONE - A seance trumpet device that utilises the alchemical combination of symbolic personal artefacts that scan the ether for EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) and enhance such signals into audible messages from ‘beyond the veil’.

AROMANCER - A device that defuses ethereal aromas. By placing images in the small frame and under the spirit lens, the present spirit is able to elicit the viewers’ emotion (amygdala) and memory (hippocampus). p

A special thanks to Nigel and Julian from The Weavers Factory in Uppermill for their generosity in sharing their experiences of Joan and help with making this work possible through the loan of media and artefacts.