• You_cant_tell_me_youre_not_here_1
  • You_cant_tell_me_youre_not_here_2
  • You_cant_tell_me_youre_not_here_3
  • Do_you_like_us_being_here
‘Is Mary Here Again?’ is a sound, photography and installation project by Nicky Coutts and Liz Murray. The work developed after the artists took part in a night-long ‘paranormal event’ in Northumberland’s Kielder Castle. During the 7 hour séance, mediums took it in turn to summon, encourage and goad the spirits believed to be present, into materializing through table tipping, temperature changes and sound. Tools such as electronic voice phenomena devices (for recording silences in rooms which on play-back can be scrutinized for spirit voices) and temperature probes (temperature may drop in the presence of a spirit) were used by the mediums to gather proof of paranormal presence.

Five elements make up the installation; a four-monitor image piece, a film, a ‘spirit hut’, a sound work and a series of 24 photographic images. The four-monitor installation presents comments and questions asked of the spirits by the mediums e.g. “I don’t like things with eyes looking at me” and “What is it that’s with you?” interspersed with images taken on the night of the displays at Kielder in ever changing configurations.

The medium’s enquiries are also used for the sound piece played on overhead speakers onto the public street outside the gallery. “Don’t be scared”. “Come close” and “Are you a male?”, originally intended for spirit ears, now address passers-by. The film element is produced from the footage recorded during the event and housed within a ‘spirit hut’ made from a reconfigured garden shed.

The 24 photographs “You can’t tell me you’re not here” are produced from video stills made during the séance. As other participant’s camera flashes went off, the video camera struggled to scan the entire image leaving bands of black obscuring some of what is seen.

< Return

Is Mary Here again?
2009, digital audio, 7’49” (9MB)

You Can’t Tell Me You’re Not Here
2009, C-Type photographic print
29.7 x 42 cm

Do you like us being here?
2009, C-Type photographic print
38 x 57 cm

Exhibited at
2009 — Waygood Gallery, Newcastle
2009 — VARC, Tarset, Northumberland