The Sonic Egregor


In 1878, a year after successfully patenting the phonograph, Thomas Alva Edison listed the applications to which the device might usefully cater. Notably, these included the preservation of ‘the sayings, the voices, and the last words of the dying member of the family as of great men’. But beyond this mere mnemotechnical use, the phonograph introduces modalities of representation that grant to biological entities, extracted from their originary flux, an effective, if somewhat fraught, afterlife. Dislocated voices persist, haunting a world their bodies no longer inhabit…