Ghosts of the Internet

November’s Awesome Ottawa award goes to Evan Roth to support a pilgrimage using ghost hunting technologies to document physical evidence of the Internet.

“Paranormal researchers,” explains Evan, “have developed their own technologies to help them communicate with spirits. And while I am agnostic towards the existence of ghosts, I find this equipment fascinating and telling of society’s relationship with technology in general. Ghost hunting technologies, like many of today’s social media platforms, are made by believers who attempt (and often fail) to use technology to give us human and emotional connections to people who we rarely see in person. Through this journey, I want to learn more about the physical and spiritual foundations of the Internet by documenting its infrastructure using technology designed to detect ghosts.”

“Off the coasts of England and Wales,” Evan continues, “there are several small beach towns that are the landing points for the fiber optic cables that connect the United States and Europe. As it happens, these locations also contain a number of castles, cemeteries, and abandoned prisons considered to be haunted by many paranormal societies. Over the course of a five-day ghost hunting mission, I will visit locations of importance to both the Internet and spirits. I will take various ghost hunting technologies with me (e.g., full spectrum video camera, thermal flashlight, and electronic voice phenomenon recorder) and plan to collect data from these devices and from nearby public computer terminals (e.g., Internet browsing history and cached data).”

Evan plans to document his ghost and Internet hunting activities online using photos, videos, and maps. “My aim with this mission,” he says, “is to share my findings on the physical and spiritual Internet, as something that passes through, over, and under the places where we live and die. I also haven’t ruled out the possibility that I may make contact with something unexpected.”

Evan is an American artist based in Paris. His website is

Funded by Ottawa (November 2014)