Messages in the All Souls Chapel, Rookwood Cemetery

Throughout the twentieth century, paranormal investigators sought to capture the ‘voices of the dead’ using the technologies of the time, such as radios and tape recorders. These ‘electronic voice phenomena’ are now widely thought to have been random, innocuous signals.

However the urge to reconnect with loved ones who have passed seems inherently human. The proliferation of new technologies for capturing and distributing memories suggests that such a connection is increasingly possible.

Messages explores this uncanny phenomenon through a site-specific sound installation that plays recordings of deceased loved ones, from sources such as answering machines and home movies. Members of the community are invited to contribute their own recordings, facilitated by social media and the web.

The chapel is a place of remembrance in which memories will spontaneously emerge, through spatially diffused audio recordings.

Recordings of the artists’ own deceased parents are included in artwork. Jennifer Teo has a personal connection to the site as her mother was cremated at Rookwood in 2004.

Part of an ongoing series of artworks exploring site, memory and relationships, beginning with Waterfront Utopia (Newington Armory, 2010).