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.
With artworks by: Camille Barton, Zach Blas, Yin-Ju Chen, Joshua Citarella, Ellie Wyatt, Geoffrey Lillemon, Juliette Lizotte, Agnes Momirski and Suzanne Treister.
Curated by Inez de Coo and Marc Tuters.
Supported by Creative Industries Fund NL, the City of Utrecht, and the Democracy & Media Foundation.