Research Code Key
[E] Explanation [O] Opinion [W] Website [R] Further Research [Q] Quotation [U] Useful [!] Critical
[X] Exhibition [T] Timeline [I] Important [>] Indent
[P] Photograph [B] Book To Read



Unseen Agents (2003)

[U] Unseen Agents is a body of work funded by the Arts Council and the University of Arts London Photography and the Archive Research Centre.

[U] Unseen Agents explores the supposed psychic emanations from the Adolescent child and the often-assumed capacity of the photographic medium to accurately record non- physical phenomena.

[U] In Unseen Agents, the Photism series employs the use of the high street, ‘Aura Camera’ found in ‘Spiritual Shops’ or Fairs, which purport to provide a detailed study of a subject’s character and energy.

[U] The laying of hands upon a metal sensor produces a small colour Polaroid that bears ‘witness’ to aura projection and ethereal entity.

[U] Strand terms this image a Photism (A luminous image or appearance of a hallucinatory character).

[U] In this series there is a perverse sense of denial, achieved by stripping away the very colour of the original photographic document, so necessary to the decoding of Auras and Emanations, as extolled by the Theosophists and, even more recently, by New Age Psychodelics.

[U] In contradiction too, the small working Polaroid is promoted to contemporary gallery status by its ambitious size and slick production”

[U] In Kirlian Studies Strand presents us with the Kirlian camera plate (invented by seymon Kirlian 1939 to detect metaphysical energy of the animate and inanimate).

[U] The contradiction presented to us is that there is no pictorial outcome, just the witnessing of the process itself. Strand concentrates on the mechanisms of achieving the image, rather than the image itself.

[U] More precisely, the Kirlian apparatus is brought to bear on the characteristics of the female subjects in the Photisms (Hair, Tread, Touch, Breath.)”