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The Family Bible Floats Through the Living Room

from The Bible in Translation: Bonus Material [album] by John Harvey



The piece responds to an article in the 'Eugene Register-Guard' newspaper about a haunting that took place at a farmer's house in Mena, Arkansas in 1961. The Shinn family were harassed for more than a year by the sound of ‘howling and hissing’, a disembodied voice that responded to questions, and poltergeist activity. The ‘ghost’ (who could not be seen) disrupted their sleep, threw figurines against the head of the husband (who is shown with his grandson in the track-cover photograph), and violently moved furniture. But the most unusual manifestation of its antics, the Shinns reported, was that ‘the family Bible floats through the living room’.

Personnel: John Harvey.

Instrumentation: Adobe Audition 3.0, Apple MacBook Pro OS X 10.8, Boomerang III phrase sampler (×2 connected in parallel), Carl Martin 2-Wah pedal, Digitech Hardwire DL-8 delay/looper (two connected in series), Electro Harmonix Big Muff Pi fuzz pedal, Ernie Ball volume pedal, George Dennis Pan/Volume pedal, and Gibson Les Paul Custom guitar.

Context: Improvisation recorded live at an audiovisual installation entitled ‘Here Everything is Still Floating’, held at the School of Art Gallery, Aberystwyth University, Wales, UK, March 6, 2010.



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John Harvey Ceredigion, UK

I’m a practitioner and historian of sound art and visual art, and Emeritus Professor of Art at the School of Art, Aberystwyth University, UK. My research field is the sonic and visual culture of religion. I explore the sonic articulations of the Christian religion by engaging visual, textual, and audible sources, theological and cultural ideas, and systemic and audiovisualogical processes. ... more

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