A “creative experiment,” and a tongue-in-cheek commentary on our relationship with technology, but not very far off from the use of technology as “metaphor” in Paganism, rather than just means:
Allison’s cybernetic take on the ancient mystical practice of shamanism is part of his Master’s thesis at New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. In his own, made up technoshaman ritual, he takes the role of spiritual leader, guiding the participant to step outside of themselves and become one with their devices—metaphysically speaking.
“There’s this moment of ecstasy, where you and the computer memory are outside of each other, and then you merge,” Allison told me in an interview.
But instead of ancient shaman tools like chanting, drums, and psychedelic drugs, he’s using an Oculus Rift headset, electric keyboard, and a standing fan to guide people to a greater understanding of the world.
Clearly, it’s a creative experiment, not a serious attempt at spiritual leadership; Allison can’t even keep a straight face when explaining his approach. But it’s inspired by a cultural reality in the digital age. “For me, this project is about figuring out and trying to heal my relationship with this technology that I use all the time, and to understand this relationship by applying these ancient arts,” Allison said.
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