Ghost Writing

Ghost Writing is an installation of some of my PhD project work – it’s displayed in the Engine Room gallery in Wellington from the 19th-28th of February 2020.



  • Invite no witnesses.
  • Write the one story that haunts you so much you can’t tell it.
  • Replace the ink cartridge of a photocopier.
  • Place your untellable story face down on the glass.
  • Place paper that shouldn’t go through a photocopier into the paper tray.
  • Press copy. Wait. Move the story. Stop.
  • Place the copy in the paper tray. Layer the story on one page.
  • Repeat the last two steps till the layered story becomes invisible; a ghost, in ink.
  • When the story is illegible, burn it, drown it, hang it or bury it.
  • Take a breath.
  • Look elsewhere.
  • Write a story that you desperately want to tell.
  • Find the ghost in the story and ask it, ‘what do you want to be next?’

GHOST WRITING is an installation which explores books and book pages as performative artefacts, and simultaneously discovers the narrative potential of fragmented fictional texts. The hybrid processes used to create this installation incorporate conceptual art practice and fiction writing. In GHOST WRITING, the reader re-writes the text as they read it. The reader/viewer is encouraged to performatively engage with the installation by exploring what is visible, partially visible, and concealed. To spend time touching and reading words, whispers, silence.


Jess Richards, Ghost Writing, 2020.

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