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27th August 2016

PAFA’s paranormal activities (

Model Taneisha Shaw at the exhibition Fernando Orellana: His Study of Life. Photo courtesy of Fernando Orellana
Model Taneisha Shaw at the exhibition Fernando Orellana: His Study of Life. Photo courtesy of Fernando Orellana
“Experience a real-life ghost story at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA) in Philadelphia—the oldest art school in the United States—with the exhibition Fernando Orellana: His Study of Life (until 6 November), an attempt by the New York-based artist Orellana to summon the spirit of the artist Thomas Eakins (1844-1916), who taught at the school in the late 19th century. The show features some of Eakins’s personal possessions … and four robotic machines with electromagnetic, infrared and temperature monitors that sense paranormal activity. When fluctuations are recorded, the robots ‘help’ Eakins’s ghost perform various actions, such as opening his watercolour box and drawing—both from archival photographs by Eakins, and from live nude models who pose throughout the show…. the show’s curator, Jodi Throckmorton [said] ‘There have been no reports of paranormal activity so far’ [but] ‘the exhibition has only been open for a few days and perhaps Eakins and other ghosts are still warming up to the idea of the installation.’”

Indeed, but I guess the nudes give all a pretextual eyeful until they do.

Fernando Orellana: His Study of Life, using robotic machines to investigate the paranormal, forcing us to confront the difference between what we see and what we think we see (

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