On Thursday 2 December at 20:00h we presents a new online episode of IMPAKT TV. We talk with Erik Davis about the turn toward the weird in contemporary culture and theory. Erik Davis is an American journalist, critic and podcaster, known for his creative explorations of esoteric mysticism. His latest book High Weirdness: Drugs, Esoterica, and Visionary Experience in the Seventies (MIT Press/Strange Attractor Press) explores the emergence of a new psychedelic spirituality – and its becoming mainstream. The event is also the latest addition to the new IMPAKT webproject Weird Gnosis: https://weirdgnosis.impakt.nl
From the occult rituals of witchcraft to esoteric psychedelia, the online webproject Weird Gnosis takes you on a journey into some of the weirder parts of the web. With a selection of video and performance art, Weird Gnosis curates a dialogue with artists and thinkers whose practices radically disturb the familiar by invoking the truly weird.
As new media technologies appear increasingly indistinguishable from magic, the Internet is becoming a forum for the struggle between magickal subcultures – the ‘k’ differentiating it from rabbit-from-a-hat stage magic – who use the language of esoteric revelation and weird mediation. From ancient spiritual practices of divine self-knowledge – or gnosis – to the psychedelic drugs of contemporary cultic milieus, these technologies of the self can be conceptualised as both cure and poison – what the ancients called a pharmakon.
While they have been imagined differently in different places and times, these technologies of the self have generally been relegated to the margins. In the last few years, however, dramatic legal and cultural changes have taken psychedelics mainstream. While there are reasons to celebrate these new openings, we need to preserve the mystical lineage through which these weird practices reach all the way back to secret mysteries of antiquity.