F-L-A-M-M-A-R-I-O-N Susan MacWilliam


Video installation by Susan MacWilliam

Dates: September 15–October 27, 2012

Persistent Personalities
September 15–October 20
In conjunction with F-L-A-M-M-A-R-I-O-N by Susan MacWilliam
Displays from the Survival Research Institute of Canada library and T. G. Hamilton Files
Open Space, 510 Fort Street

Tuesday, September 25
3 p.m. — Discussion with Susan MacWilliam,
Walter Meyer zu Erpen, Walter Falk, and Doug Jarvis
5 p.m. — Reception for F-L-A-M-M-A-R-I-O-N with the artist
Open Space, 510 Fort Street

Wednesday, September 26
8 p.m. — Visiting artist talk, Susan MacWilliam
University of Victoria, Visual Arts Building, Room A162

Thursday, September 27
7 p.m. — Talks by Walter Meyer zu Erpen and John Adams
10 p.m. — Investigation by Dawn Kirkham
Open Space, 510 Fort Street


Susan MacWilliam

2009, Blu-ray, Colour, Stereo, 17 min. 13 sec.

In 1931 a "teleplasm" spelling out the name "Flammarion" appeared on the wall of a cabinet at a séance in Winnipeg. Camille Flammarion, 1842–1925, was a French astronomer and psychical researcher, and his name appeared at Thomas Glendenning Hamilton’s sitting of June 10, 1931. F-L-A-M-M-A-R-I-O-N featured a reconstruction of T. G. Hamilton’s séance cabinet, the Belfast poet Ciaran Carson, Atlanta-based Danish-American poltergeist investigator Dr. William G. Roll and Arla Marshall, and Canadian granddaughter of Hamilton’s Scottish sitter Susan Marshall. Recorded in three cities across the globe, Carson, Roll, and Marshall came together in F-L-A-M-M-A-R-I-O-N and responded to the image of the teleplasm.

F-L-A-M-M-A-R-I-O-N was developed from MacWilliam’s 2008 residency at the University of Manitoba Rare Books and Special Collections, Winnipeg, where she worked with the Hamilton Family fonds. F-L-A-M-M-A-R-I-O-N was commissioned for Susan MacWilliam’s solo exhibition representing Northern Ireland at the 2009 Venice Biennale.

Susan MacWilliam lives and works in Belfast and Dublin, Ireland. She is a lecturer in fine art at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin. In 2009 MacWilliam represented Northern Ireland with a solo show at the Venice Biennale. Working with video, photography, and installation, MacWilliam’s work explores cases of paranormal and perceptual phenomena. With an interest in that which is on the periphery of the mainstream and which falls beyond conventional fields of science and psychology, MacWilliam has developed an extensive body of work exploring a range of phenomena including Dermo Optical Perception, table tilting, psychic abilities, and mediumship.

MacWilliam’s practice involves close and sustained engagement with specialized fields, archival sources, and noted researchers. Working as both observer and participant MacWilliam has worked closely with prominent parapsychologists and psychical research institutions, including the Dermo Optical Laboratory of Madame Yvonne Duplessis, Paris, poltergeist investigator Dr. William G. Roll and the Parapsychology Foundation, New York. Her close engagement with the New York family of Irish-born medium and founder of the Parapsychology Foundation Eileen J Garrett has resulted in the production of five video works. In 2009 MacWilliam made Some Ghosts, a video portrait of renowned Danish American poltergeist investigator Dr. William G. Roll (1926–2012). MacWilliam has worked with historical archives internationally including the archives of the Parapsychology Foundation, New York, and the Hamilton Family fonds (Spirit Photograph Archive), University of Manitoba Rare Books and Special Collections. MacWilliam is currently developing new work from her 2011 residency in Durham, North Carolina, where she worked with the archives of the Rhine Research Center and the Parapsychology Laboratory Collection, Duke University, to research the ESP and telepathy studies of Dr. J. B. Rhine.

MacWilliam’s solo exhibitions include Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin; Conner Contemporary, Washington, DC; Jack the Pelican Presents, New York; Cornerhouse, Manchester; Gimpel Fils, London; Context Gallery, Derry; aceartinc, Winnipeg; Project Arts Centre, Dublin; Likovni Salon, Celje. Group exhibitions inculde Presentation House Gallery, Vancouver; Photographers’ Gallery, London; Man&Eve, London; David Roberts Foundation, London; IMMA, Dublin; and Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston. MacWilliam has exhibited in the Internationale Foto-Trienniale, Esslingen and Helsinki Photography Festival. Recent exhibitions in 2011–12 include The Edge of Reason, Kino Kino, Sandnes; Afterlife, Tot Zover, Funeral Museum, Amsterdam; Wunder, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg and Kunsthalle Krems; Interplanetary Revolution, Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast; Cutting A Door, Eastlink Gallery, Shanghai; and We Make Versions, Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster.

An extended essay by Susan MacWilliam about her practice My Adventures in the Supernormal was published in the July 2011 issue of the Society for Psychical Research’s Paranormal Review. Remote Viewing a monograph about MacWilliam’s work was published in 2009 by Black Dog to accompany MacWilliam’s Venice Biennale exhibition. MacWilliam’s video works are held in the British Library’s Drama and Literature Section of the Sound Archive.




Susan MacWilliam (Belfast, N.Ireland), Artist —  http://www.susanmacwilliam.com/

Walter Meyer zu Erpen (Victoria, BC), Historian, Archivist —  http://www.islandnet.com/~sric/

Walter Falk (Victoria, BC), Archivist — http://www.thehamiltonfiles.info

John Adams (Victoria, BC), Historian — http://www.discoverthepast.com

Dawn Kirkham (Victoria, BC), Clairvoyent Medium — http://www.beyondbeliefparanormalevents.com

Doug Jarvis (Victoria, BC), Curator — http://www.openspace.ca/


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510 Fort Street, 2nd floor
Victoria, British Columbia

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