Oracles for Troubling Times - Designing new Divination Systems
A creative workshop where we learn about divination as a new way of navigating cyber-realities, explore various (non-)traditional divination systems developed around the world and imagine new methods of divination for the future.
A divination system is, strictly speaking, a well-designed tool for Making Sense of the World. Practically every human society has developed some sort of way of using natural or abstract phenomena to answer questions or make decisions. These traditions were often dismissed as inferior in the scientifically-minded 20th century. But with the arrival of the Internet and global culture, the world became a complex super-connected network and approaching it in strictly rational terms is proving insufficient.
At Hermetechnics Inc. we believe the great questions of our era cannot be answered by a cold, analytical mind alone. We must rediscover the ancient divination methods and find new ways to use them in a networked society. We invite you to join us on a journey of exploration, as we dive into the world of emergence and symbolism.
In this workshop, we’ll learn about different divination systems, their basic inner structures, rules and discuss how they relate to modern society. We will discuss traditional systems such as the I-Ching, tarot reading and lead-pouring, but also more contemporary esoteric research from artists like Burroughs, TOPY and Philip K. Dick. We will try to expand basic divination principles to technological phenomena such as voice assistants, GANism and generative art. We will investigate divination in the context of gender, race and class, and draw connections to various artistic movements.
In small groups, we will build on what we’ve learned and create designs for new divination systems. The systems may take many forms: written manuals, paper prototypes, card decks, performances, web applications or audio-visual artworks - the key is to design a technique that can be shared and used by others. We will document our concepts in a collaborative grimoire, published on the Hermetechnics web platform.
At the end of the workshop, we shall be better equipped to use divinatory principles in our lives, find their presence in our creative endeavor and incorporate them in design processes.