Friday, 10 February 2012

Physical Medium


Physical Medium: Deborah Griffin

Music: Bend by The McCarricks – with their kind permission.

Photography, film & concept: Gaynor Perry

"Physical mediumship is defined as manipulation of energies and energy systems by spirits. This type of mediumship is claimed to involve perceptible manifestations, such as loud raps and noises, voices, materialized objects, apports, materialized spirit bodies, or body parts such as hands, legs and feet. The medium is used as a source of power for such spirit manifestations. By some accounts, this was achieved by using the energy or ectoplasm released by a medium. In 1944, Helen Duncan was one of the last people convicted under the Witchcraft Act 1735, which made falsely claiming to procure spirits a crime.”

Resembling cheesecloth, ectoplasm is light-sensitive and can only be produced in a darkened room. Emitted through the body's natural openings it is the raw material for spirit manifestation. In this series of photographs and film, Deborah Griffin skilfully portrays the physical medium. Mediumship is a complex story of belief and need with a long history which is often associated with the emancipation of women.

"The Witchcraft Act is still in force in Israel, having been introduced into the legal system of the British Mandate over Palestine; Israel gained its independence before the law was repealed in Britain in 1951. The South African Witchcraft Suppression Act, 1957, which is still in force, was based on similar 19th-century laws in the Cape Colony which were themselves based on the Witchcraft Act 1735.”

To be alive means passing through a series of transitions; from conception to extinction nothing is ever static. Embracing these transient states and refusing the safe haven of certainty allows us to be fully immersed in the sea of all possibilities; free to explore these inner changes without preconceived outcomes.