Collegium Helveticum
Fellow Project 2023–2024

The Trouble with Ghosts
Film, Television, and Other Spectral Media

So commonplace is the white sheet with two cut out holes for eyes that we tend to forget what is so strange about the ghost. It is a being that is not, a non-ontological being, whose presence is felt even though it eludes our grasp. Accordingly, the history of ghosts is unruly: they appear everywhere throughout recorded history in many different culturally specific forms. But ghosts need an audience and a medium in order to make their appearance. Perhaps this is why cinema, television, and computational media have attracted so many ghosts.

During her fellowship at the Collegium, Kriss works on a co-authored book project with Martine Beugnet entitled The Trouble with Ghosts. The authors question the ways in which mediated apparitions trouble the living across ethnic, racial, national, and historical borders. Their approach is conceptual, focusing on how media fosters new forms of haunting while giving us the impression that the ghost can behold us. The ghost’s uncertain being continues to determine an asymmetrical relation to history and to the senses—to the act of seeing and hearing, as well as the act of making something or someone vanish. The Trouble With Ghostsattempts to examine these troubled spaces between seeing and being seen, touching and being touched, possessing and being possessed (or dispossessed).