Measuring Visual Disturbances

Black Crown Gallery
Oakland, CA
November 4 – December 17, 2016

Press release:

Black Crown Gallery is pleased to present Measuring Visual Disturbances, featuring new work by Elizabeth Moran. This exhibition is a continuation of an ongoing project in which Moran investigates myths surrounding her purportedly haunted family home in Memphis, Tennessee. This installation features two approaches to the subject: a series of Skotographs, abstract cameraless images which may or may not document evidence of paranormal presences, paired with sound pieces which follows Moran’s aunt as she investigates locations rumored to be inhabited by ghosts. The work presented in this exhibition emerges from the intersection of belief in the paranormal and belief in technology’s ability to permit access to that which is unavailable to us. At this crossroads Moran poses the question: Do we simply see what we believe or do we believe what we see?

For the photographic works Moran has revived the term Skotograph—a combination of the Greek words for “darkness” and “writing” introduced by the British Society for Psychical Research to describe images produced by spirits on otherwise unexposed photographic materials. Through the adoption of this term Moran situates herself squarely in the tradition of spirit photographers of the 19th and early 20th centuries—a period during which photography was just one of numerous scientific processes introduced that created images of spaces and phenomena that were previously invisible to humans, and opening up the possibilities of connecting with new worlds by way of technological devices.

Through these vivid, abstract photographic compositions and sound recordings, Moran is placing the question of belief squarely at the center of her practice: both the ability to believe in the unseen and unexplained, as well as a willingness to believe in technology —in particular photography—and the veracity of the mechanical image. The Skotographs and audio in this exhibition present to the audience the evidence gathered, and leaves them to draw their own conclusions.