Artist Matthew Ostrowski will share his insights about the installation on view, his inspirations, creative processes, and technical achievements.
During the 1840s, the world of scientific invention and the spirit world overlapped. Summerland, a sound installation by artist Matthew Ostrowski creates imagined dialogues between these two worlds and explores the “elusive promise of communication.”
When Samuel F. B. Morse’s telegraph became commercially available in 1844, it changed the nature of communication. By using electromagnetic impulses that could be sent and received over a single wire, the telegraph transmitted information across thousands of miles almost instantaneously. It conflated time and space in a nearly unimaginable way. Some thought it was magic.
Four years later, Maggie and Kate Fox, two sisters in upstate New York, created a series of rapping sounds to fool others into believing they could communicate with spirits. Their undisclosed hoax soon captivated others and before long a growing interest in spiritualism brought the promise of communication with departed loved ones.
Summerland, as Ostrowski comments, is a séance—a telegraphically audible dialogue between Morse and Kate Fox—that is communicated through a series of telegraph sounders, each one tapping out its binary code.
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The presentation will be offered live via Zoom with a Q&A session. All participants will receive the Zoom link one hour before the lecture to the email used during registration.