Full text online of the theatre play here:


Act 1, Scene 5 (the conversation between Hamlet and the ghost


Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, could probably be one of the best examples in dramaturgy to understand the spectral definition in Lacan’s system of production. This is the phantasmic production or the spectral production. Regarding the lacanian system, there are three existing elements that form part of the process of creation:
subject – object – process:

– The subject is constituted by the desire.
– The object is always impossible, because is copy and is false.
– The production, realization or process is traumatic and pathologic.

Following, there are different phases at the creative process. It operates from three states: Real, Symbolic and Imaginary. These three states contribute to the production of the object (thing, final work or product).

– The Real, is the concrete reality, the objectual and the result.
– The Symbolic is the language, the medium. It is used to produce the real.
– The Imaginary is part of the virtual reality, the platonic idea. It can be the dream, the desire, the intention or aim of the subject.

According these three, there are different models of reality according perception and creation: ordinary reality, symbolic reality and virtual reality.

– Ordinary Reality. It operates from the imaginary to the real. It produces objects and concrete things. From the mental idea to the real object.
– Symbolic Reality. The real becomes language. Or the object becomes a medium. The message is the final object. It is conceptual art, art and language, poetry, etc. It normally omits the production of the object to show the process.
– Virtual Reality. It takes the imaginary as an object. Dreams, subconscious, desire, idea, etc. The spectral mode or the phantasmic mode operates in the virtual reality. Our era is here. The technological object is converted into a ghost. Is the end of the objectual production. The Digital Era produces spectra and the virtual reality creates spectra, too. Virtual projects and make the ghost true. It rejects the real. It is formed using the imaginary and most of times the symbolic is erased. Finnegans Wake, by James Joce, is an example in the process to the virtualization. It eliminates the symbolic, the language. Another, example is the artworks of John Cage, who following Hegel, states the virtuality of sound (and the possibility to visualize sound) as the resolution of the senses. Once sound/vision operates altogether, the trauma is probably  erased.


According Lacan, the subject is the subject of desire, which is the essence of the man. The subject once into the language will be divided and marked by the lack of a lost object. The subject will try to fill this void with traumas and pathologies. Originally separated, and as a result of the language (the subject couldn’t express, the others do not understand him) will become an alienated subject. To restart the subject, it is required again the impulse of the desire, a new possibility, that is the Thing. The Thing is exterior, absolute and gives meaning to the subject, but it is graspable.  The subject establishes a pathetic relation with the Thing. The relation is based in the primary affection, prior to any repression. The thing is the object of desire. Engendered but not created. In a modern version, is the continuous movement of the automaton. Is the limit of the subject, it is its law and this law is stopping the effort to concentrate all the unity in the path into its real. A real that will be excluded of all sense. So, the thing, understood as a desire, it can only be realised as a real object through the virtual. And then it becomes a ghost. Thus is because in Lacan the materialization of the object is traumatic but the virtualization of the object resolves the syneathesic process.

According sound techniques, the perception of a spectrum depends on the timbre as a subjective factor. The perceptual quality of a measurable quantity is the spectrum. A spectrum is not a scalar quantity with one dimension, but a matrix of values. We can not rank, timbres, in a simple order, rather, they form a space, in which certain sounds are close to each other and others are far away. Timbre refers to a static spectrum, with a frequency and a series of overtones. This is just a snapshot in the frequency domain and does not capture the evolution of the sound. When we talk about timbre we are talking about the instantaneous perceptual sensation produced by a steady spectrum. (Designing Sound, Andy Farnell, MIT press)

Foollowing this, the spectrum can be compared as a space bubble. A definition that will draw a specific condition of immaterial, and so, a virtual process.  Moreover, the spectrum is a frequency, is produced because of the movements inside a body. Although perceptible, is immaterial (like the thing in Lacan, the object of desire). In addition, and adding sense, a spectrum or a ghost is a representation of something supernatural or horrifying.

Phantasmata = n. pl. phan ·tas ·ma ·ta, from Greek phantasma. Images of the soul, mental images, something existing in perception only. Mental imagery (varieties of which are sometimes colloquially refered to as ‘visualizing,’ ’seeing in the mind’s eye,’ ‘hearing in the head,’ ‘imagining the feel of,’ etc.) is quasi-perceptual experience; it resembles perceptual experience, but occurs in the absence of the appropriate external stimuli. (xname, eleonora oreggia, phantasmata, performance at piksel)

Regarding the origins of cinema, Phantasmagoria was an essentially live form of entertainment. These shows also used projectors in ways which anticipated 20th century film-camera movements—the ‘zoom’, ‘dissolve’, the ‘tracking-shot’ and superimposition. Phantasmagoria was a form of theatre which used a modified magic lantern to project frightening images such as skeletons, demons, and ghosts onto walls, smoke, or semi-transparent screens, frequently using rear projection. It was credited to Atanasius Kirchner.

According Roscharch Audio Archives, in “Ghost Voices and Perceptual Creativity”, electromagnetic waves constitute the communication system, although there are other possibilities into the transmission and reception of the messages. Like apparatus working through vibration that are emulating telepathies. Electronic waves are composed by vibration producing frequencies. The frequency is a former part of the spectrum. Roscharch Audio offers the primary hypothesis that an understanding of the relevant aspects of psychoacoustics provides a complete explanation for most EVP recordings; and a secondary hypothesis that an informed understanding of these processes is as relevant to the emergent field of sound art as studies of optical illusions have been to the study of visual art.

Hamlet: “Do you see yonder cloud that’s almost in the shape of a camel?”
Polonius: “By the mass, and ’tis like a camel indeed.”
Hamlet: “Methinks it is like a weasel.”
Polonius: “It is backed like a weasel.”
Hamlet: “Or like a whale?”
Polonius: “Very like a whale.”
– Shakespeare “Hamlet”

Curiously, the sound spectrum can be measured in between 20Hz and 20Khz. The infrasound is an under 20Hz frequency. Whales capture infrasound waves.  Whales and dolphins are really good examples to explain the sound phenomena such waves and infrasound. Apart, there are modern machines invented to capture this ghost sounds, such as devices by Edison and Marconi.  But the most important is to remember the synesthesia factor, The neurologist Oliver Sacks discusses the subject of acoustic projection in his book “Seeing Voices”, quoting descriptions of the so-called “eye music” and “phantasmal voices” experienced by the poet David Wright in his autobiographical work “Deafness”. Having lost his sense of hearing in childhood, after the onset on spoken language, Wright found himself able to experience reconstructed sound-images projected by his mind into his perceived environment as an extension of visual cues.


Furthermore, to finish, the tales writer E.T. A. Hoffmann was the first author to describe synesthesia phenomena. Synesthesia is from the Greek (syn), which means “union”, and (aisthesis) which means ” sensation” and thus it means ” a union of the senses”. What is meant by this union of the senses is, for example, you can look at a color and experience what that color tastes or sounds like at the same time. Synesthesia is defined as a rare capacity to experience one sense when another is stimulated: to see smells, hear colors, or even tasted music. It is typically associated with certain illnesses, such as schizophrenia, severe depression, neural damage or the use of certain psychedelics, such as ayahuasca. 

To conclude, the interest is to understand memory as a primary function of the technologies. To reproduce a ghost, we use memory, and faking it, we use technology. Thus, it can be compared the technological apparatus with a ghost itself. The apparition of a ghost could be a description about the technical qualities of audiovisual technologies, reproduction of sound and image.


– HAMLET. 1913


– HAMLET. Dir. Sir Laurence Oliver. 1948. Actors: Laurence Olivier, Basil Sydney, Eileen Herlie, Jean Simmons, Sttanley Holloway.



– HAMLET. Produced by ESTUDIO 1 TVE. ????. Actors: Emilio Gutiérrez Caba, María Luisa Ponte, Fernando Cebrián, Alfonso del Real, Gerardo Malla, Fabio León y Maribel Martín.


– HAMLET. Dir. John Gielgud. 1964. Actors: Richard Burton,


– HAMLET, Dir. Zeffirelli, 1990. Actors: Mel Gibson, Paul Scofield, Glenn Close.



– HAMLET. Dir. Kenneth Branagh. 1996. Actors: Kenneth Branagh, Derek Jacobi, Kate Winslet, Robin Williams, Gérard Depardieu, Jack Lemmon, Billy Crystal,  Charlton Heston, Richard Attenborough, Judi Dench.




– HAMLET. David Tennant, Patrick Stewart, Penny Downie.

Act I, scene 4. Hamlet encounters the ghost of his father. Part 1.

Copyright Illuminations / RSC / BBC.




– HAMLET. Goodliffe.  A shortened version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet was produced at Tittmoning (Bavaria). Goodliffe played the title role. Costumes and make-up were provided by the Munich Opera House. Photographs of this production were taken by a local resident, Dr. Jung. Those shown here are of Goodliffe as Hamlet with the ghost, played by Brian Shaw (who became well known for his lectures on explosives), Goodliffe with Polonius, played by Victor Hellaby, and the final scene with George Kerr, John Mullins, Michael Burrough, Jock Hamilton-Baillie, Andrew Biggar and Douglas Fisher.


– HAMLET. April Soroko Production. Hamlet ~ 2009

Jerry Herman Ring Theatre at UM
Directed by Jay Goede
Costume Designer ~ John Barger
Set Designer ~ April Soroko
Lighting Designer ~ Rob Perry
Photographer ~ Kent Lantaff

– HAMLET. Stratford Shakespeare Festival. 2008

The ghost of the late King Hamlet (James Blendick) had given Prince Hamlet (Ben Carlson) his marching orders (“Revenge my foul and most unnatural murder!”) and retreated to purgatory almost before we had settled into our seats and staked our claim to the armrest.  Barnardo, Marcellus, and Horatio popped up through the trapdoor, whipped through their lines, and made their exits.  The scene changed, and Claudius and Gertrude, the happy newlyweds, were leading a promenade at a castle ball.


– HAMLET. Royal Shakespeare Company

BBC archive production






experimental http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faLbVrBtAZ4

experimental http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LkjLFDC8tY

original soundtrack http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgSr3qmh4y0


More about

Art, technologie and phantasmagoria


Echo is a new video art installation by Mark Boulos, in which viewers encounter a video image of themselves in real time: a reflection, or double.

The video image will emit more than just a reflection, as the viewer finds themselves almost lost in a surrounding city. It will be as if the audience sees themselves standing inside a movie.

The reflections will enter a state of flux as their image begins to distance itself from reality. Their voices, likewise, become an echo. As the image of their bodies becomes increasingly desynchronised, the background also becomes strange, shrinking into the distance as the space between the buildings stretched. The rules of perspective are soon broken.

The effect is a known as ‘contrazoom,’ a camera technique developed by Alfred Hitchcock to induce a feeling of vertigo. The video attempts to induce a feeling of displacement and alienation, as it dislodges time and stretches space, so as to undermine the foundations of perceptual understanding.

Theoretically, it is inspired by neuroscience and psychoanalysis. Art historically, the video recalls other video manipulations of space-time, as well as classical representations of the myth of Narcissus and Echo.

Echo marks a significant technical and aesthetic development in Mark Boulos‚ practice away from his previous documentary-style works, a selection of which will also be shown alongside the new commission at FACT.

Commissioned and produced by Forma Arts and Media in partnership with FACT Liverpool with research, development and presentation supported by the Wellcome Trust.

There will be a programme of talks and educational events exploring the conceptual context and scientific content of the piece, including the symposium ‘Video Ergo Sum’.

Video Ergo Sum

October 4

This symposium will respond to Echo, the new video installation by Mark Boulos and will examine how art and neuroscience intersect in this work.
It will explore issues of self-perception and self-representation including; ecstasy and alienation, hallucinations and psychedelia, out-of-body experiences and ‘the double.’

Echo was inspired by Professor Olaf Blanke’s article “Video Ergo Sum,” and his research at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) Lausanne, for which he induces out-of-body experiences using 3D video.

Professor Blanke’s scientific research into the visual perception of the body offer a neurological basis for what Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis have long insisted: that only upon encountering one’s mirror reflection can a subject recognise oneself as a single, unified subject.

Speakers include: Mark Boulos, neurologist Professor Olaf Blanke and Kerstin Winking, Global Collaborations Project Curator at the Stedelijk Museum.

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