From the hexing of presidents to a renewed interest in herbalism and atavistic forms of self-care, magic has furnished the contemporary imagination with mysterious and complex bodies of arcane thought and practice. This volume brings together writings by artists, magicians, historians, and theorists that illuminate the vibrant correspondences animating contemporary art’s varied encounters with magical culture, inspiring a reconsideration of the relationship between the symbolic and the pragmatic.
Dispensing with simple narratives of re-enchantment, Magic illustrates the intricate ways in which we have to some extent always been captivated by the allure of the numinous. It demonstrates how magical culture’s tendencies toward secrecy, occlusion, and encryption might provide contemporary artists with strategies of remedial communality, a renewed faith in the invocational power of personal testimony, and a poetics of practice that could boldly question our political circumstances, from the crisis of climate collapse to the strictures of socially sanctioned techniques of medical and psychiatric care.
Tracing its various emergences through the shadows of modernity, the circuitries of ritual media, and declarations of psychic self-defence, Magic deciphers the evolution of a ‘magical-critical’ thinking that productively complicates, contradicts and expands the boundaries of our increasingly weird present.
Holly Pester, Katrina Palmer, Ithell Colquhoun, Anna Zett, Monica Sjöo, Sofia Al-Maria, Jack Burnham, Jeremy Millar, Susan Hiller, Mike Kelley, Morehshin Allahyari, Center for Tactical Magic, David Steans, Porpentine, Travis Jeppesen, Linda Stupart, Caspar Heinemann, Elizabeth Mputu, Faith Wilding, David Hammons, Ana Mendieta, Henri Michaux, Kenneth Anger, Benedict Drew, Mark Leckey, Robert Morris, Jenna Sutela, Haroon Mirza, Zadie Xa, Saya Woolfalk, Ian Cheng, Tabita Rezaire, Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth, Elijah Burgher, Pierre Paulo Pasolini, Sahej Rahal
Charles Fort, Victoria Nelson, Gary Lachman, Yvonne P. Chireau, Randall Styers, Isabelle Stengers, Alan Moore, Simon O’ Sullivan, Lucy Lippard, Louis Chude Sokei, Patricia MacCormack, Mark Pilkington, Æ, Annie Besant & C.W. Leadbeater, Michel Leiris, Aimé Césaire, Austin Osman Spare, Erik Davis, Mark Dery, Elaine Graham, Jeffrey Sconce, Giulia Smith, Esther Leslie, Alice Bucknell, Gary Zhexi Zhang, Hannah Gregory, Kristen Gallerneaux, Mahan Moalemi, Jamie Sutcliffe, Gregory Sholette, Aaron Gach, Eugene Thacker, Diane Di Prima, Allan Doyle, Aria Dean, Emily LaBarge, Lou Cornum, Joy KMT, Scott Wark, McKenzie Wark, Phil Hine, Jackie Wang, Sean Bonney