Ghost of my 9-year-old User

Ghost of My Nine-Year-Old User

Medium: Installation of recreational electronics, circuited through relays, and compiled through Arduino.

Date: Winter 2020

Ghost of my 9-year-old User is a relay-circuited installation that explores the way everyday electronics capture the presence of its user. Through a relay system, various recreational media randomly switch on- one after the other. Classic looney-toon cartoons plays on an old-style CRD television. Music and radio talk-shows from the 90s resound from a beat up sound box. Original Mario bros game is played on a computer. A lamp turns on to shine light over outdated magazines and comics. A mechanical toy box starts to spin. Their activation indicates the presence of a user even in the absence of a physical person in the room.

These everyday electronics not only signify its user’s presence but characterize their personality. They depict their user as an adolescent growing up in the 90s, who would have had access to such media. The historical and cultural context of the technology imagines the kind of person who would have engaged it. Such a person is activated with the different electronics across the room. The user's movement and activity throughout the space is performed by the technologies that are initiated.

The relay goes on and on, triggering one device after another- the user’s presence is recalled over and over again. The devices cannot escape the presence of a manual user, despite their autonomy from a manual user to power them on. Each piece of technology, instead, presences a ghost user from its historical past. It remembers the user from its own cultural backgrounds in the 90s. Such a person from a particular point in media history has become embedded in the technology relevant to the era. The project thinks through the ideas of Hauntology in viewing technology. It explores media as artifacts that solidify the human contacts of their time. It questions how technology retains and recreates our person and presence even after we are long gone.


Fisher, Mark. “What Is Hauntology?” Film quarterly 66.1 (2012): 16–24. Web.