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Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

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Creating Haunted Architecture – Usman Haque

  • On November 8, 2005

Some of my friends from the Interactive Architecture Workshop at the Bartlett were guinea pigs recently for (ex-student and tutor) Usman Haque’s new project Haunt.

Using humidity, temperatures and electromagnetic and sonic frequencies that parapsychologists have associated with haunted spaces, the project aimed at building an environment that feels “haunted”: a non-visual architecture.

Responses from participants included a “sense of presence”, “chills on the spine”, “uneasiness in a particular part of the room”, “dizziness”, “glowing ball” hallucinations, seeing flies in the chamber, auditory hallucination of somebody coughing in various parts of the chamber and sensations of mist; though it is not clear yet what the causal relationship is since some of these sensations were reported in the chamber when neither the infrasonic nor the magnetic field equipment was switched on. Statistics are currently being carried out on the data and will not be fully known until the end of November 2005. As expected, it appears that belief plays an important role in eliciting “haunt” sensations.

The intention with this project is not to explain haunting phenomena or to debunk popular wisdom with regard to the paranormal. Rather, the intention is to demonstrate how the perceptions of space and objects in space are intricately affected by things we are not immediately conscious of.

Also see his project Sky Ear

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