The Paranormal is Personal

Jason Sweeney and Fiona Sprott


Incubator residency

In two interconnected paranormal sound and text-based projects, using paranormal research tools, Fiona Sprott’s Ghost? and Jason Sweeney’s Corporeal will collaboratively and individually map locations of heartbreak, love, of trauma, of old houses they’ve lived in, and the places their previous performances and artworks have taken place in. Can personal ghosts at sites of memory, loss and grief have something to say or offer the haunted body and mind? 

Jason Sweeney is making an experimental suite of song-based compositions called Corporeal based on the search of his own personal ghosts. The intention with this collection is to sing as if from the paranormal ‘beyond’, singing back to the shape of a former queer self, aged beyond recognition, walking through life devoid of corporeal matter.

To generate sonic and text-based materials Sweeney is composing a 60-minute music work using recordings from paranormal audio investigation tools (such as a Spirit Box, GhostTube app, Electronic Voice Phenomena) whilst asking himself: What haunts the corporeal body? What ghosts remain in our lives as we age? Is there something inherently queer about an interest in spirits?

With Ghost? Fiona Sprott is travelling across and through the landscapes of her life to confront memories and attempt to exorcise the ghosts that creep about in the dark spaces of her body and mind. She is writing out the stories in a Journal of Hauntings whilst crafting a 40-minute audio storytelling experience for the audience.

Maybe the real question for her project is: am I the ghost? Moving through life never quite seen or understood fully by others? Ghost? is an attempt to communicate, to connect, to forge intimate human bonds while failing to cross the divide between her world and the world of others.

Creative team: Fiona Sprott and Jason Sweeney

About the artists

Fiona Sprott (she/her) is an artist and research academic with an extensive history of writing for stage and screen. She holds a PhD (Flinders University), and MCA (UTS) earned through ten years of dedicated research into the cultural representations of heterosexual female fear and desire, ghosts and haunted spaces forged through trauma/intense grief.

Her staged works have been performed variously throughout the world. Her recent project, Words Fail Me, explored how to effectively engage a listening audience purely through audio – using storytelling, and improvising/crafting song/s and lyrics using only her voice. She is currently exploring the realms of audio-based storytelling and created song – embracing the digital spaces in which to engage with audience/s.

Jason Sweeney (he/him) is a composer and sound artist based on Kaurna Yarta. Since 1999 he has composed for leading performing arts companies and organisations (State Theatre Company SA, Restless Dance Theatre, Patch Theatre, Chunky Move, Closer Productions, pvi collective) and international companies and centres (TED, SPILL Festival, SOIT, Banff Centre, NADINE).

He releases music internationally under the names Panoptique Electrical and Sweeney. In 2022 he was commissioned to make new scores for ANTIGONE (State Theatre Company SA), Astrid Pill’s Widow Weirdo and Patch Theatre/Restless Dance Theatre’s HOME. In 2023 he will be releasing and performing a new composition work titled Corporeal.

Image courtesy of the artist