Psychic Photography v2

In the 1960s there was a story of the impossible -- the story of a man who claimed he could project his thoughts directly onto photographic film. He wasn't alone in his belief -- and among those who refused the obvious skepticism were a psychiatrist and a camera. The story is that of Ted Serios -- psychic photographer -- a man who worked as a hotel bellhop but who also refused to be subsumed by the monotony of the everyday. Instead, Serios let his mind wander, acting out in ways both dramatic and absurd -- allowing his thoughts to be strangely recorded -- projected onto instant film. The strongest advocate for taking Serios seriously was the psychiatrist Jules Eisenbud who put Serios through a series of tests and experiments, designed to filter and channel and -- ostensibly -- prove the abilities that Serios claimed. It should come as no surprise however that proof was not forthcoming -- but that is not to say that proof was not offered. Serios, to his credit, produced regular (if not repeatable) examples of psychic manifestation -- instanced as images appearing on Polaroid film.

Psychic Photography v2 is a speculative project, loosely based on experiments conducted by Ted Serios and documented by psychiatrist Jule Eisenbud in his text The World of Ted Serios: 'Thoughtographic' Studies of an Extraordinary Mind. In the attempt to bring participatory inquiry to the experiment, the project is conceived as a forum for engagement with the concept of psychic imaging, from which image archives will be generated. Participants will be recruited to perform a basic exercise in thought-generated imagery, according to a series of simple instructions. The project method is loosely conceived in relation to the experiments conducted by Serios and Eisenbud, simplified somewhat for accessibility. Rather than using hidden "target" images such as those that Serios was prompted to imagine, the project will employ user-generated targets -- simple shapes drawn on sketchbook paper and used as visualization prompts for participants. Participants will be asked to spend roughly 10 minutes visualizing and imagining the target, at which time a photograph of their forehead will be taken. The photograph and the drawing will be retained as project content.

+ click for a slideshow of all project images

Contributor Images 2012
University of Washington Bothell

image credit: Joe Becker (2012)

Participating Artists Ryley Anderson, Joe Becker, Nick Becker, Candis Belkonen, Erik Boling, Josh Brunner, Shannon Bruno, Alicia Cortez, Samantha Daniel, Colleen Devine, Pundeep Dhunna, Megan Dunbabin, Tom Epplin, Marinna Ewing, Selene Garcia, Elyssa Grant, Danny Hofer, Benjamin Jia, Schuyler Knoblich, Bryan Krause, Angela Krohn, Alvaro Licea Jr., Yongmei Liu, Chynna Luistro, Brian Ly, Monica Manzo, David Marks, Laura Matherly, Adri Sanchez-Magdall, Daniel Schmidt, Talwinder Singh, Brendan Sweeney, Brandon Vana, Ginger Vandament, Paulina Vongphet, David Wagner, Jennifer Walters, Khader Welaye, Linwei Yang, and several anonymous participants

Contributor Images 2011
University of Washington Bothell

image credit: Patricia El Koury (2011)

Participating Artists Chris Aasness, James Allen, Justine Bronfin, Dessie Bybee, Leysla Castillo, Austin Dean, Patricia El Koury, Nathan Evers, Ashley Farner, Betania Gebremarian, Laura Han, Chi Hsu, Peter Koshi, Angelica Lizak, Andrew Niles, Neda Oskouie, Samantha Price, Spencer Reed, Joshua James Smith, Charles Suk, Adina Ulmanu, Sema Ustuntas, Kyna Vyeson, Hilary Warren, Avalon Willows, Jennifer Wilson, Sandy Wu, and several anonymous participants

Contributor Images 2010
University of Washington Bothell

image credit: Jason Tentor (2010)

Participating Artist Sabrina Berthold, Jessica Burgess, Eliran Eretz-Kedosha, Harmony Gonty, Michael Hermes, Clayton Johnson, David Lam, Josh Landis, Jessica Lusk, Ashley Mathis, Mercie Metcalf, Hope Oliver, Sara Rahmani, David Ryder, Blake Springer, Pauline Ta, Jason Tentor, Hillary U, Jonathan Widjaja, Kevin Yang, Boyoung Yum, and several anonymous participants