Project Framework – Ghost Excavations, Part III

This is a project on how to situate the lives and behavior of characters who have become the “ghosts” in our lives. It extends research and field investigations beyond the “tech box” of measurements and “bleeping” devices. This archaeology of a ghost directs our attention away from the physicality of a haunted setting by engaging the investigator in the “feel” of a particular moment, an episode in the memory of a dead individual that has become their lingering fragment of a site’s “ghost culture”, as a place of “ruin”. 

The representation of a haunting can be an immediate (and ongoing) phenomena, something any one of us could witness in our daily lives if only we peer hard enough to understand the importance of context and resonance. A “ghost excavation” provides that context and resonance. It is through the perspective of the cultural anthropologist who, perhaps uniquely, is the most understanding toward human behavioral patterns and manifestations, can this excavation be enacted. It is this anthropologist, working as a “ghost excavator”, who can unearth the strata(s) of social uncertainties in the normal flow of everyday reality. These encounters with “bodies in transition” (“after-death acculturation”) ARE observable in the present, the here and now. They must, however, be unearthed through participatory and performance acts of cultural resonance.

This project seeks to build a team of field investigators who “excavate” while other merely survey. The work involves a series of ongoing experiments in sociocultural interaction and culturally-resonating mutual communication strategies, while others merely measure, command, and demand (“Show us a sign”, “do something”!). In this capacity, we will unearth the still present past!

This project is a mediation of an archaeological ruin that has become a haunting site of cultural memory practices. It is not a place to “hunt” and identify so-called “anomalies”! This is a project for serious investigators, not casual “ghost hunters”, or “thrill-seekers”. It is about uncovering, not “hunting”, the material remains of dead cultural beings!

This project is a vision of a landscape that extends beyond the eyes, ears, and the recording and measuring devices of “ghost hunting technopolies”. The unconventional record of a “ghost excavation” is a new kind of geometry, one that is meant to address the often contradictory nature of the REALITY of symmetrical space and unfolding time that occurs at most sites of social occupation or former historical occupations!