Delicate Instruments (Vibrating Stillness) (2023)

with Gabrielle Hoad
voile curtain, piano wire, drinking glasses, nails, magnets, paper cases, electric fan, carbon paper, oboe reed, tuning fork, lead whistle, monoprint
Delicate Instruments (Vibrating Stillness)
Delicate Instruments (Vibrating Stillness)
Photos: Jon England, CalverHoad ©
"There was a flow of air, and it circulated and
he was supposed to be able to think and stop it."

Shifting between scientific and psychical thinking, Delicate Instruments (Vibrating Stillness) suggests new ways to tune into hidden signals from the more-than-human.

Obscured by a veil, the vitrine initially withholds its contents. A closer look reveals them as objects held in unstable equilibrium and sensitive to the slightest stimuli: from trembling paper cases balanced on the points of nails, to indigo carbon paper primed to register subtle touch.

Some of these instruments are drawn from the realm of psychical experimentation, where they might have been placed in a sealed cabinet to isolate them from air currents and other physical influences.

Delicate Instruments was originally presented at the Devon & Exeter Institution as a part of a CAMP Research Residency. The DEI, a venue dedicated to science and learning, didn't admit women until 1894. This new iteration, created specially for Vitrine, is adapted to the context of a woman's home.

"There was a flow of air..." Tom Jackson: paranormal experiments with Alec Reeves (2013) British Library - Voices of Science