The Telepaths

2019
Installation of sculpture, video, and photographic work
The Telepaths is an installation of sculpture, video, and photographic work that explores the ideas and imagery related to historical investigations of telepathy and extrasensory perception.

The Telepaths draws parallels between the exploratory space of the researcher’s laboratory and that of the artist’s studio.
The Telepaths, 2019, Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast
The Telepaths is an installation of sculpture, video, and photographic work that explores ideas and imagery related to historical investigations of telepathy and extra-sensory perception. With a fascination in the experimental handmade objects and apparatus used within psychical research studies, MacWilliam draws parallels between the exploratory space of the researcher’s laboratory and that of the artist’s studio.

Susan MacWilliam’s installations and videos immerse the viewer in curious tales of vision and perception as they are lead through histories of psychical research and studies of extra-sensory phenomena. She uses diverse forms of reconstruction, portraiture and storytelling to explore personal and social histories. Subjects include psychic mediums, ectoplasm, X-ray vision, telepathy, table tilting, remote viewing and dermo optical perception.

In The Telepaths, MacWilliam has worked with a personal collection of photographs, and with archive materials gathered during her 2011 residency working with the Records of the Parapsychology Laboratory held at Duke University and the archives of the Rhine Research Center in Durham, North Carolina. During the 1930s Dr J B Rhine (1895–1980) began testing for telepathy and extra-sensory perception through card matching experiments conducted at the Parapsychology Laboratory of Duke University. While working with Rhine’s archives Susan began to think of books as analogous to telepathic devices from which information is transferred from writer (sender) to reader (receiver). In The Telepaths she imagines the female subjects in her collection of old photographs and postcards as ‘telepaths’ transmitting ideas and knowledge beyond the frame of the image.