Thursday, August 24, 2017

‘Contemporary Art and Esoteric Traditions’

This recurring event at New York University has no connection to Freemasonry or the other main subjects discussed on The Magpie Mason, but I’d say there is a tangential artistic sympathy in it. From the publicity:

Occult Humanities Conference
Contemporary Art and Scholarship
on the Esoteric Traditions
October 13-15
New York University
Barney Building
34 Stuyvesant Street
New York City

Hosted by Phantasmaphile and New York University’s Steinhardt Department of Art and Art Professions, the third Occult Humanities Conference will present a wide array of voices active in the cultural landscape specifically addressing the occult tradition through research, scholarship, and artistic practice. Tickets available here.

The arts and humanities at present are acutely interested in subjects related to the occult tradition, which represents a rich and varied visual culture that displays a complex set of relations at once culturally specific and global in their transmission. Roughly defined, the occult tradition represents a series of culturally syncretic belief systems with related and overlapping visual histories. Though there are as many ways into this material as there are cultural and personal perspectives, universal occult concerns often include a belief in some sort of magic; a longing to connect with an immaterial or trans-personal realm; and a striving for inner-knowledge, refinement of the self, and transformation of one’s consciousness—if not one’s physical circumstances.

Intensely marginalized throughout most historical periods, these traditions persist and represent an “underground” perspective that periodically exerts a strong influence on structures of dissent, utopianism, and social change. Though history is marked with several so-called “Occult Revivals,” the contemporary digital age is a perfect confluence of several factors which make this moment prime for a re-examination of all of the esoteric traditions. While the information age has allowed for easier access to previously obscure writings, imagery, and social contexts, it alternately elicits a deep desire for sensorial experiences and meaning-making when one steps away from the screen.

The presenters at the OHC represent a rich and expanding community of international artists and academics from multiple disciplines across the humanities who share an exuberance and excitement for how the occult traditions interface with their fields of study as well as the culture at large. The small scale of this conference (approximately 100 attendees) will give ticket holders an intimate look at the presenters and their views.

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