Channel

A 'living' Ouija board that channels messages from local TV signals.

”Channel” invites you to commune with the invisible transmissions all around us. It taps into ghost signals serving the echoes and reruns of the past: people we watched and loved that are now all but lost, and soon will disappear entirely. When the conditions are right, Channel comes to life and spells out a message from one such ghost happening to pass through moments before. To remember is to give new life, so please: sit, open your mind, and chant this invitation, “Spirits of the past, move among us.

An authentic 1930s Ouija board and planchette serves as the conduit to reveal unencrypted TV signals flowing all around us through a continuous stream of closed caption phrases. Channel is designed to be installed in a public, yet somewhat secluded space just off to the side of the world we are familiar with, much like the spiritual realm if it indeed exists. Currently Channel is a proof-of-concept as can be observed in the preview video below, waiting for someone daring enough to commission a full installation.

Many aspects of this project proved to be challenging yet fascinating to solve. An X/Y plotter was modified to secure the board with a set of earth magnets to capture and orient the planchette. Combining the proper hardware and software to accurately capture and parse live television signals took the most effort. Even once successful, rules needed to be developed to select properly mysterious phrases in real time to reflect the ephemeral nature of the signals which change with time and location.

In the final design, the board is to be set into a square table beneath a clear top, surrounded by four chairs. A plaque set into the table will instruct visitors to sit, invite others to join, take hands, and open themselves up to the ghostlike signals all around them. Each edge of the table or each chair will have a hidden sensor to detect the presence of a visitor. A full table and complete circuit of hands will strengthen the call to nearby spirits, though the exact moment of arrival will never be known.

If you have interest in commissioning a full installation, take a look at the Channel Installation Proposal PDF and get in touch!

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