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05/05/2014

"Mediumship": Performance Art at 'Print Screen' Festival

I attended a performance art presented at 'Print Screen' Festival during the past weekend. The festival is dedicated to digital culture and is held annually at the Holon Cinematheque. 

The performance art was titled "Mediumship", which is why I was curious to see it: I've been quoting Dr. Elaine Kasket ever since I heard what she said on BBC’s Radio 4 excellent radio broadcast, Digital Human (season 2, episode 7) (time code 20:10):

"I've talked about Facebook as being a kind of modern-day medium, and the reason I called it that was because I was so struck by how my research participants, and my clients, that have been bereaved and continued to connect on Facbeook, experienced Facebook as pretty much the primary channel by which they were able to communicate directly to the dead. So, in Victorian times, you might go to a seance, you might sit around the table and there'd be a medium there who would be responsible for channeling the communications through to the people on the other side. In this case, Facebook, this technological phenomenon, is the medium. It's not a human medium but it's a technological one, and people are using the site as a conduit, as a channel, through which to get in contact with the dead".    
Maayan Boni and Tal Alperstein asked the audience to place their mobile phones on the table and not to silence them. They "summoned" entities and had conversations with live people as well as "channeling" dead ones, while using mobile phones. They referred to the experience as "A cellular, virtual seance" - and haven't previously heard of Dr. Kasket. 


 Tal Alperstein practicing "Mediumship" - entities are "summoned", 
questions asked and answers provided

Maayan Boni practicing "Mediumship" - entities are "summoned", 
questions asked and answers provided

 Tal pricking her finger with a needle to extract a drop of blood


 Maayan pricking her finger with a needle to extract a drop of blood 


Maayan holding a glass of milk,
her bloody print clearly seen on it

 Tal's bloody print on her glass of milk


"I sense a textual presence in the room", says Tal
 Ido Kenan is encouraged by her to include his creative partner, Jonny Silber, in the seance

 Ido is guided to ask Jonny via text messages for a question for them to "channel"

Shir Nosatzki is encouraged to return a call to her mother, and place it on speaker

Shir's mother is asked a question, and is expected to answer 


Tal in conversation with Shir's mother 

Maayan is asking Tal to "channel" another person - this time, a singer


Maayan is crawling on the table towards Tal, 
while Tal is "transforming" into the singer - with YouTube's help 


Tal as Paul Anka, accompanied by YouTube 

Even Tinder is brought into the seance  

Ido filming Maayan using her smartphone as part of the seance 

Ido filming Maayan using her smartphone as part of the seance  

All in all, it was an interesting experience, and I was glad they brought this subject up. For me, as a bereaved sister, this whole matter of "summoning dead people" is not something I take lightly. 

All pictures taken by Vered Shavit, with the artists permission. 
  

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