The theme was the fractured state of communications during the covid-19 pandemic. Much of our face-to-face contact with one another and with the physical world has been lost (or, paradoxically, gained, as in the increased presence of birdsong), and ubiquitous electronic communications leaves us connected but unsatisfied.
Part séance, part installation, The Departed guides us through open communication between physical and digital worlds.
The audience at the physical event were greeted by a “medium” who offered an electronic ouija board as a means of reconnecting to whatever they had lost. Unseen members of the public online – who could see and hear them via a live video feed – responded to their question with their own experiences of lockdown, conveyed through the illuminated letters and symbols on the ouija board: a symbol of what has departed from our lives.
Lockdown has disembodied us from the physical. We are supervirtual phenomena, wandering cyberspace for a sense of connection. At the same time, we have listened to new birdsong, and to the silence of carless streets.