The Spiritualist Movement, which gained momentum in the late 19th century, was founded on the belief that the human spirit exists beyond the body and that the spirits of the dead can, and do communicate with the living. The work in Transmissions recollects and re-translates this once widely popular movement; emphasizing the differing roles photography has played in its encounters with the occult. The project looks at various manifestations of faith, grief and reverence, taking inspiration from the ‘vanitas’ and ‘memento mortis’ of the time. These images serve as a mediation linking photography to death. The work abstracts, re-enacts, and retraces the uses of illusion and theatrics in photography, examining the fallibility of the photograph as a truth while augmenting and cultivating one set of mythologies for another, both reinforcing and distorting common notions of death and the supernatural.

Saskia PandjiSakti_WS