QUAD’s SUPERNATURAL season is about more than ‘things that go bump in the night’. Featuring AN ANSWER IS EXPECTED by Susan MacWilliam, and the group show BEYOND, as well as film screenings, live events and educational workshops – this is a season for sceptics and believers alike.
AN ANSWER IS EXPECTED is a body of sculpture and video work that considers the historic and groundbreaking experimental ESP (Extra Sensory Perception) and telepathy work of parapsychologist Dr JB Rhine. With a fascination in the researcher’s quest for answers and proof Susan MacWilliam reflects on the work, experimental apparatus, lives and personalities of those involved in parapsychology – a subject falling beyond the ‘normal’ fields of science and psychology.
The video work AN ANSWER IS EXPECTED features the voices of historic and now dead figures from the fields of psychology and parapsychology, discussing the importance of exactness, precision and scientific rigour, and the role of parapsychology, and ESP and telepathy research in relation to developments in statistics and mathematics. Dr Seymour Mauskopf (Professor Emeritus of History, Duke University) refers to ESP experiments conducted by Apollo 14 Astronaut Edgar Mitchell, and speculates on the transformative experience of looking back at Earth while standing on the Moon. While reflecting on the laboratory research of Dr JB Rhine AN ANSWER IS EXPECTED explores our attempts to understand the world through asking questions. The video considers the ways in which we think about the world and our place within it; our desire to read something deeper into coincidence, and the belief that perhaps there is more to the world than simply ‘matter in motion’.
The imagery of book covers features in both the sculpture and video work. Through their communication of ideas from writer (sender) to reader (receiver) books are considered as telepathic devices; functioning as portals to knowledge and a means of navigating and making sense of the world. The installation Book Spheres presents an expansive vista which indulges in the graphic qualities and designs of parapsychology book covers. Drawing on the aesthetics of handmade experimental research apparatus the sculptural work Apparatusphere makes reference to mechanical orrery models.www.susanmacwilliam.com
Susan MacWilliam’s video works have been exhibited internationally and are held in the Drama and Literature Section of the British Library’s Sound Archive. In 2009 she represented Northern Ireland at the 53rd Venice Biennale with her solo show REMOTE VIEWING. Solo exhibitions include NN Contemporary Art, Northampton (2013); Open Space, Victoria, BC (2012); Gimpel Fils, London (2008); Jack The Pelican, New York (2008); Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin (2004); Cornerhouse, Manchester (2001) and Project Arts, Dublin (1997). Group exhibitions include Heidelberger Kunstverein, Heidelberg (2014); NGBK, Berlin (2013); Kunsthalle Krems (2012); Deichtorhallen, Hamburg (2011); Kino Kino, Sandnes (2011); Presentation House Gallery, Vancouver (2010); Villa Merkel, Esslingen (2010); The Photographers’ Gallery, London (2007) and Chapter Arts, Cardiff (2003). Susan MacWilliam is a lecturer in Fine Art at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin.
Regarded as the ‘Father of Modern Parapsychology’ Dr Rhine (1895–1980) was a leading researcher and published author. Rhine was interested in testing ESP, telepathy, psychokinesis and precognition through laboratory methods acceptable to science. Rhine began his renowned experimental research in the 1930s and developed tests employing the identification of unseen cards and the prediction of dice rolls. In 2011 MacWilliam worked with the Rhine Research Center and Parapsychology Laboratory Records, Duke University, Durham, NC.
For more information please visit Susan’s website: www.susanmacwilliam.com
AN ANSWER IS EXPECTED is a new commission for QUAD, in partnership with NN (formerly Fishmarket, Northampton). QUAD and NN are collaborating on a new Susan MacWilliam publication for this project.