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Taking a cue from Thomas Edison’s off-the-cuff remarks about inventing a Spirit Telephone, Liberation through Hearing explores the telephone’s connection to the afterlife and other worlds, both as analogy and agent for mediumship. The piece operates within a contemporary space of liminality – the on-hold phone system, where an anonymous voice drifts in and out of the earpiece accompanied by an repetitive musical score. For Telephone, Scott has made a live recording of the default on-hold music installed on 64 million Cisco phone systems worldwide. This sound track is a long-form ritualistic work in itself, with the music performed in real-time over a number of hours by the artist and musicians from ARCO. Punctuating this composition, are spoken recitals of real and imagined texts, including Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘A History of Spiritualism’; ethnographic accounts of the use of telephones in shamanic cults; the autobiography of Thomas Watson – inventor of the telephone and regular at seances – as well as earlier accounts of the afterlife such as Dante’s ‘Purgatory’ and Emmanuel Swedenborg’s ‘Heaven and Hell’.






Liberation Through Hearing

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