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Mario Lautier Vella

Mario.Lautier.Vella

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My latest work is inspired by daily life in a haunted home.

By examining others interested in the paranormal – be it the birth of Spiritualism and various other Victorian endeavours to contact the dead, through to completing workshops in psychic connection, spirit portraiture and automatic writing, I wanted to gain insight into what I was experiencing and learn more about the processes and phenomena further.

Inspired by Victorian parlour séances, I made regular contact with the spirit world using a second-hand Ouija board. This resulted in several successful sessions where the spirits who lived in the house divulged a lot of personal information. The project culminates in a piece of work that explores whether the names, dates, and other information given on the Ouija board tally with the official records held about previous residents in the Hertfordshire archives.  

Whilst ideas about sensing, communicating and collaborating with the invisible informed the first half of the project, later work explores the uncanny in the domestic space – how our homes shelter what we wish to keep secret and hidden, where the invisible becomes visible, the familiar becomes unfamiliar and an awareness of time, memory and history leads to sensations of suspicion, intrusion and unease within our own four walls.

The work also responds to these notions of an invaded space by considering whether the uncanny can actually provide us with the means to feel safe and protected in our private space. With age-old beliefs and superstitions from my Mediterranean roots shaping ideas of protected and blessed spaces, and where elements deemed uncanny such as ghosts, twins, doppelgangers, alter-egos, masks and mirrors can actually be used to protect us from all that we dread, in a bid to confuse and evade what we most fear.

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