Radio Gallery number 2: Investigating EVP

Author: Thibaut de Ruyter
Broadcast date: July 10, 2006

In 1959, the Swedish painter, archeologist, opera singer and polyglot Friedrich Jürgenson (1903-1987) discovered that he was able – in using a microphone, a tape recorder and an out of tune radio – to record voices from dead people…

That method became quickly known worldwide as Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) and Jürgenson found many followers and friends that built on his research. It is a scientific attempt to deal with the possibility of a life after death and, because it is scientific (the radio and tape recorders were high technology in the 50’s-60’s and the users presented themselves as researchers), it tries to be an indisputable – yet still highly interpretable – proof. But, in the use of radio, radio waves and noise, EVP questions the radio medium itself, how it is made and how it could be misused.

There are two directions in EVP that the exhibition tries to investigate. On the one hand, the aesthetic of ground noise, white noise and lost radiowaves. On the other hand, the poetic beauty of the researchers’ methods, where technical objects are used to produce things they are not supposed to. The artists have been chosen for their ability to deal with one of those two aspects, bringing the show not a presentation of ‘beliefs’ but the strange beauty of ‘investigations’.