With The Influence Machine Oursler conceived a kind of ‘psycho-landscape’. Delving deep into the history of media, he looked into historic shows which invoked the ‘spirit’ of the sites used for the installation (Madison Square Park in New York and Soho Square in London), such as the phantasmagoria of the late eighteenth century, as well as the beliefs and superstitions which have taunted the media throughout the twentieth century. The ghosts of key figures in media history, such as television pioneer John Logie Baird and the Fox sisters, who made contact with the spirit world in the mid-nineteenth century, roamed the squares in both cities at night.
This book documents the visual elements of The Influence Machine, the projections onto buildings, trees and smoke, but also the transcripts of the monologues that provided a haunting soundtrack to the images. These images and transcripts are accompanied by a conversation between Tony Oursler and Louise Neri, an article by editor and writer Carlo McCormick and an essay by author Marina Warner. Also included is Oursler’s Timestream, which summarises the history of ‘deep media structures’ in an extensive timeline.