The Poltergeister’s Visit. From Exorcism to the Ethics of Recording

The article is devoted to the history of sound reproduction devices and nineteenth-century speculation about the presence of ghosts in electrical equipment. It analyzes the relationship between sound and space in the home in the light of the concept of hauntology described by Jacques Derrida in Spectres de Marx and reinterpreted by Simon Reynolds. The proposed metaphor of the poltergeist grows out of the modern concept of fidelity in the listening experience, which is reflected in the production of music and in sound operations such as the remastering and compressing of audio tracks, and of the notions of cleaning up and “crystallization” in sound recordings.