The setting of the haunted house has performed a dramatic, if occasionally caricatured, role in the public imagination of the last century through its depictions in cinema, the visual arts, and various forms of imaginary tourism. Erik Morse writes about its status as an object of inquiry in modern art beginning with Joseph Cornell, Marcel Duchamp, and Ed Kienholz and extending to the contemporary installation works of Hanne Tyrmi, Jacob Hashimoto and Neck Face, among others. Employing the critical texts of Peter Sloterdijk, Gaston Bachelard and Martin Heidegger, Morse explores the recurring overlaps between curated depictions and popular images of haunted space. These include representations in cinema, amusement rides, seasonal events, anthropological tourism, and other instances of public spectacle. As part of his ongoing fascination with domestic – and other interior – psychotopologies, Morse also examines how trends and demographics in the urban vs. suburban model have informed differing perceptions of haunted space in the visual arts, particularly as many contemporary artists have chosen to re-evaluate the aesthetic legitimacy of the ex-urban corridor as a place of vernacular cultures, architectures and critique.
Erik Morse is the author of Dreamweapon: Spacemen 3 and the Birth of Spiritualized and Bluff City Underground: A Roman Noir of the Deep South. He is a contributing writer to frieze, the Paris Review, ArtReview, the Guardian, Rolling Stone, Bookforum, the Times Literary Supplement, the Believer and LA Review of Books, among others. He has also been an adjunct professor at Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) and an assistant contributor at Semiotext(e). He currently lives in both Los Angeles and Houston, where he is working on several new works of fiction under the rubric of hauntology.