Interdisciplinary Conference


in Art & Science

26-28 November 2020, University of Applied Arts Vienna/Online

96. All You Have to Lose is Ecstasy: The Intuitive, Occult and Somatic as Methods of Inquiry
Session: Roundtable ACE2
Speakers: Monica C. Locascio, Pêdra Costa, Zosia Hołubowska, Florentina Holzinger, Daniela Brill Estrada and Elisabeth von Samsonow

Moderator: John Bardakos

I propose a panel presentation and discussion by artists who use occult, intuitive and/or somatic practices for creative stimulation and knowledge creation. These methods are important methods of inquiry and are inherently political in the face of capitalism, colonialism, patriarchy and cynicism. The human body as a space for creative transformation in the merging of science and art. 

Research shows that our body is not something to be monitored, augmented and optimized, but rather something to be celebrated as the very thing from which our intelligence stems. However, it is taboo to trust one’s body or intuition above logic. We are told that “the facts”—which are only by-products of the current agreed-upon model of reality—usurp our intuitive relationship with our own biology. 

It is anti-capitalistic and anti-colonial to give primacy to our own intuition. To rest firmly in the belief of one’s own embodied authority, no matter what shape, size, race, color, health status or age, is imperative. To believe and trust in one’s embodied knowledge without having to reach for an external resource or authority is power.  

We have given this power away to academia, sensors (and censors) and deep learning. We have forgotten that we inhabit a tool crafted by millions of years of research and development. 

People are considered eccentric for believing in their own power. For example, it is taboo to believe in psychic abilities or the validity of invoking the Goddess for power and transformation, and “Magic” is a derogatory term. But what if these abilities, words and practices simply describe perfectly physical manifestations of our inherent powers as human bodies? Why have these ways of being, relating, and creating been relegated to the realm of “woo woo”? 

Many misunderstood artistic forms explore this relationship in a visceral way. Dance, artistic ritual practices and performance art are voyeuristically viewed and admired as artifacts rather than seen for their potential as an experience that builds a heightened state of awareness. Within these trance-like states, performers can have legitimately enhanced capacities for knowledge creation—the audience becoming, for some, obsolete, and for others a witness to ground the power of the liminal experience in the present moment. 

In the words of CAConrad, “Let’s be honest about our culture and say that anyone who makes us remember we are naked animals under these clothes is dangerous. To remove the scandal of it would first require the total annihilation of every bureaucratic agency sending memos through our doors.”

Ioannis Bardakos
Monica C. Locascio
Daniela Brill Estrada
Pêdra Costa
Zosia Hołubowska
Florentina Holzinger
Elisabeth von Samsonow

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