Sunday, October 16, 2016

September: The Ghost Story

  Artist book Ideation Cards for September:
Color:  Least Favorite
Image: Abstract
Layout: Centered on the Page
Paper: Transparent, Translucent
Structure: Codex: pamphlet, multisection binding, board book, stacked folios, etc.
Technique: High tech: letterpress, printmaking, etc.
Text: Self generated
Adjectives: Scientific or research-based; serious; mystical or spiritual

the cover

   The book for September is titled The Ghost Story. All of the Artists' Book Ideation cards drawn were used.  The cover paper is a group of photopolymer prints of photographs.. of old houses and ruins, a lonely old boat tied up to a stone on a shoreline, some old family photographs dating back to the early 1900's. All of the photopolymer prints allude to the ghost-like remains of what once was a real and vital life... now just a memory or shell of the past life.

front cover close-up (the artist's grandmother, 1911)

   The story is actually two narratives. Because the adjective cards drawn included scientific and research-based versus spiritual and mystical, this artist decided to write two different books within The Ghost Story. 

Title page
On the verso (left side) of each page spread is a conversation between two women about an unexplainable experience with a ghost. On the opposite side of each page spread is a brief excerpt of an actual scientific study on ghost phenomena which was found on the internet.

inside pages, the story... and the research findings
The Image criteria card prescribed abstract imagery... sweeping, swirling brush strokes of silver metallic ink (least favorite Color) on each page... met this criteria and also illustrated the ghostly apparitions.  
and more...
Page criteria stipulated an element of transparency, so each digitally printed page was coated with a layer of Future Floor polish, making the book pages themselves have an ephemeral ghostlike quality.

close-up of the transparent page and high tech (digital) technique
The book was bound as a three-hole pamphlet with hard covers to follow the Structure stipulation that the book be in a traditional codex format.

structure: codex as a single signature pamphlet binding...
This is The Ghost Story:

                     The Ghost Story

(a conversation between Freida and Kathy on the morning of September, 6, 2016; and scientific data on ghosts collected from the internet)

Pages 1-2:
Did you ever hear if the Chateau was haunted? Have you heard any ghost stories about the place? -F

According to a 2005 Gallup poll, 37 percent of Americans believe in haunted houses, and according to a 2013 HuffPost/YouGov poll, 45 percent believe in ghosts.

Pages 3-4:
Ah, no. Umm, not specifically haunted. No. But it’s an old place…over 300-400 years. There must be lots of stories. But I’ve not heard any… specifically… No, no ghost stories. -K

…infrasound at or around a frequency of 19 Hz, has a range of physiological effects, including feelings of fear and shivering. -Vic Tandy, Journal of the Society of Psychical Studies

Pages 5-6:
Well, something happened last night that was really strange… And also to Louis. Ask Louis what happened to him. He told me all about it this morning. Anyway, something odd happened to me during the night. -F

Carbon Monoxide: In 1921, Dr. W.H. Wilmer published an article about a haunted house in the medical journal the American Journal of Ophthalmology. The family who lived in this haunted residence, called the H family, began experiencing weird phenomena when they moved into an old house—hearing furniture moving and strange voices in the night, feeling the presence of invisible specters. They report being held down in bed by ghosts, feeling weak, and more. As it turned out, a faulty furnace was filling their house with carbon monoxide, causing aural and visual hallucinations. The furnace was fixed, and the H family went back to their lives, without ghosts.

Pages 7-8:                   
What happened? -K

Shane Rogers, an engineering professor at Clarkson University, has spent the past few months touring reportedly haunted locations looking for not-so-paranormal activity: mold growth. Preliminary research indicates that some molds can cause symptoms that sound pretty ghostly—like irrational fear and dementia. … So far in the data collection process, “it’s hard to say whether that’s a contributing factor or not, but anecdotally we are seeing these [toxic molds] exist in places that are haunted., April ’15

Pages 9-10
Well, I might have been dreaming, but it seemed so real. I don’t think I was dreaming. I woke up and there was a strange man in the bed… next to me… and I couldn’t move. He was taking up most of the bed. -F

A team of researchers from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland were particularly interested in not the appearance of ghosts but rather the sense of feeling you’re not alone, especially in individuals who had recently gone through traumatic experiences or suffered from a psychiatric condition. The team set out to see if it was possible to recreate a similar experience, only not in a spooky abandoned house but in a controlled laboratory.

Pages 11-12
What?! -K

Phosphorus could also be the agent responsible for ghostly figures and unexplained lights that flit across the bogs at night and inhabit swampy graveyards. In 1993, microbiologists found that bacteria can make phosphane and diphosphane. In swampy areas, where archea make flammable methane, this could lead to flares of light and the appearance of ghostly sights. -

Pages 13-14
I wasn’t scared at all. Really, I wasn’t scared at all. Anyway, I asked him, Who are you? But he didn’t say anything. So I asked him, Can you talk? and he shook his head no. I asked him, Are you dead? and he nodded yes. I asked him, What happened to you? and he put his hands on this throat… like this. I asked him, Were you killed? and he nodded yes. I asked him, When? and without speaking he indicated ’65. I asked him, Was it 1965? or 1865? He didn’t say anything. Then I asked him, Are you lonely? He nodded yes. -F 

“Our experiment induced the sensation of a foreign presence in the laboratory for the first time," neurologist and lead researcher Olaf Blanke told the Telegraph. "It shows that it can arise under normal conditions, simply through conflicting sensory motor signals.”

Pages 15-16
Oh wow. I’ve never heard any ghost stories like that happening here. But who knows, this place has been lived in over 300 years… peoples’ stories, lives… Sometimes at night there’s a certain feeling in some of the rooms…and there’s always some creaking, a bang here and there… but it’s probably just wind. - K

Dr. Priyanka Yadav of the Somerset Medical Sleep for Life Center in New Jersey explains that the phenomenon of sleep paralysis occurs when there's a disconnect between the mind and body as people enter or exit REM sleep. -NBC News

Pages 17-18
Well, ask Louis what happened in his room last night. He experienced something too. He told me about it this morning. -F

They first analyzed the brains of 12 patients with neurological disorders who had experienced some sort of paranormal experience involving an “apparition.” According to the press release, the majority of the patients were epileptic. MRI scans revealed that on a neurological level, three regions in the patients’ brains had significant interferences: the insular cortex, parietal-frontal cortex, and the temporo-parietal cortex.

Pages 19-20
I will. I can say I avoid the Pink Bunny Room and won’t sleep in there. …The first time I was here I had this really creepy feeling when I was in that room… I won’t sleep in there.  - K

The Division of Perceptual Studies (DOPS) at the University of Virginia’s School of Medicine is decidedly less fantastic than either Julavits’s or Marvel’s creations, but it's nevertheless a fascinating place. Founded in 1967 by Dr. Ian Stevenson—originally as the Division of Personality Studies—its mission is “the scientific empirical investigation of phenomena that suggest that currently accepted scientific assumptions and theories about the nature of mind or consciousness, and its relation to matter, may be incomplete.” -The Atlantic

Pages 21-22
Don’t tell Nancy! She's sleeping in the pink room! -F

Division of Perceptual Studies-affiliated doctors and scientists at the University of Virginia’s School of Medicine have reviewed and analyzed thousands of cases. Before his retirement in 2002 and later death in 2007, Dr. Ian Stevenson logged more than 2,500 cases, publishing his analyses in a number of scholarly texts from 1969 onward. -The Atlantic

book cover close-up, photopolymer print of an old boat moored on the Loire River
Epilogue: Several weeks after the conversation...which really did happen, this artist texted F. for permission to use the conversation for the monthly book. She got a text back as follows...

I'm very excited about The Ghost Story!! I do have to share these pictures with you--I took the first one when we were all outside (the last night at the chateau), but I don't believe I took the last two, unless I triggered my phone and also the time stamp on the last ones was about an hour later---??? -F

the turret room (where the ghost appeared.) Photo taken by F.

an unexplained photo...

an unexplained photo...

Whooooooooo! and Happy Halloween!

The Artists' Book Ideation Cards for October are truly challenging...
Color: Black & white
Image: None
Layout: Centered on the page
Paper: Single color
Structure: multiple openings
Text: None
Technique: Digital
Adjectives: Narrative, miniature, photographic
Remember, one card may be omitted as the wild card option, and two adjectives may be omitted. Good Luck!

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