Brussels (November 17 - December 2, 2007)

Jonctions / Verbindingen 10: Tracks in electr(on)ic fields

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Konstantin Raudive

Throughout the 1960s, ex-Baltic Swedish professor (and student of psychoanalyst Carl Jung) Konstantin Raudive engaged in tape-recording experiments. His purpose: to hear the immaterial, the ghostly, the voices non-present.
Utilising non-mic’ed analogue tape pick-ups, telephone-line and in-between radio frequency recordings, Raudive gathered faint traces of voices in a multitude of languages. He arranged these into three groups. Group A is immediately audible; Group B is "faster or thinner," and more difficult to identify. Group C, the most important group according to Raudive, resides – or fluxes – on the edges of human perception, and concerns "life after death – here is the land of soul."

Traces of Raudive’s experiments have surfaced despite receiving no recognition from the scientific community. One finds mention of Raudive in William S. Burrough’s writings, in the work of Genesis P-Orridge (with Burroughs), on work by Coil, and on The Smith’s Rubber Ring. Raudive himself studied massive archives (72,000 samples) gathered by his collaborator, Friedrich Jürgenson, primarily continuing Jürgenson’s work on Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP).

One does not need to accept a spiritualist hypothesis to explain the traces of multi-linguistic voices gathered on these tapes. Besides what are undoubtedly remnants of "background noise" (but then – what is this "background noise"?), the thesis of a material-memory, or an "incorporeal materiality" – in the words of Foucault – remains primary to our intuition as well as in philosophic, theosophical and scientific writings. Removed from theology and Platonism, and of an occult conception of the soul, we are left nonetheless with difficult questions over time, space, perception, consciousness, and memory. In the twentieth century, a major breakthrough was made with General Relativity (time is relative) and quantum physics (space-time is indeterminate), both predicted, by all accounts, by French philosopher Henri Bergson (today we would say that he was a philosopher of science). It may come as no surprise that Bergson’s ideas form the core of Gilles Deleuze’s work with Félix Guattari on schizophrenia, schizo-consciousness, schizoanalysis, time, space, memory, duality, multiplicities, the material and the immaterial. If matter is a form of memory, if memory itself is a time different to itself, as pure difference, if consciousness is a wolf pack, peopled by currents and lines of speed that form thought as the movement of difference – then it may come as no surprise that we are technically able to elucidate traces of the schizo-unconscious, of difference in its emergence in the aural. Neither an "afterworld" nor a "spirit" or "soul" in the theological sense, this would be akin to recording the quantum fluctuations of memory. It may indeed be possible. Why not? Similar traces are found in the writings of the Surrealists, automatic writing, Antonin Artaud, Burroughs’ cut-up experiments, etc.. Not to mention the preoccupation with haunting, the other and death, destinerration, difference, what "remains," the eternal return (of Nietzsche), the palimpsest, the traces of ex-writing, and all forms of the unheimlich (uncanny) in the deconstructive writing of Jacques Derrida.

Tobias c. Van Veen

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