The Occult and Its Influence Is the Topic of Art Department Conference, October 18 -20th

Though marginalized throughout most of history, the traditions of the occult persist, representing an underground perspective that still exerts a strong influence on structures of dissent, utopianism and social change.

The Occult Humanities Conference, a two-day conference, October 18 -20th, sponsored by the Department of Arts and Arts Professions will examine the occult and its influence on contemporary scholarship, the arts and social movements in throughout history as well as present society.

Co-sponsored by Phantasmaphile and Observatory, the event will feature a wide array of artists and scholars active in the cultural landscape who are specifically addressing the occult tradition through research, scholarship, and artistic practice.

Topics tackled in the conference range from how the occult intersects with magic and ancient astronomy to the influence of visual artists specializing in occult representations including Leonora Carrington, Austin Osman Spare, Ithell Colquhoun to the Cornell Witchcraft Collection, archiving centuries of witch hunting in Europe and the United States.   Exhibitions of artwork by several presenters, as well as artisanal books from Fulgur Esoterica and Ouroboros Press will be on display.

The opening night performance will feature music by The Parlor Trick, a “haunted chamber music” project, founded by Meredith Yayanos in 2006.

Conference participants include:

• Susan L. Aberth is Associate Professor of Art History at Bard College• Acep Hale, street performing magician, musician, traveler, and rogue gentleman scholar.

• Robert Ansell, a publisher, art dealer, curator and scholar.

Jesse Bransford (Conference Co-organizer), a Brooklyn-based artist and associate professor of art at NYU Steinahardt specializing in belief and the visual systems it creates.

• Elijah Burgher, a Chicago-based artist and writer whose work draws from magick and the occult to address sexuality, sub-cultural formation and the history of abstraction.

• Laurent Ferri, curator of the pre-1800 collections of rare books and manuscripts in Kroch Library, Cornell.

• Pam Grossman (Conference Co-organizer), independent curator, writer, and teacher of magical practice and history.

• Amy Hale, a anthropologist specializing in contemporary Celtic cultures with an emphasis on Cornwall and esoteric cultural history.

• William J. Kiesel, director of Ouroboros Press, Editor-In-Chief at CLAVIS Journal of the Art Magical and the founder of the international Esoteric Book Conference.

• Gary Lachman, author of more than a dozen books on the meeting ground between consciousness, culture, and the western esoteric tradition.

• Mitch Horowitz, author as well as vice-president and editor-in-chief at Tarcher/Penguin, the division of Penguin books dedicated to metaphysical literature.

• Mark Pilkington, author of Mirage Men (and Far Out: 101 Strange Tales from Science’s Outer Edge as well as numerous magazines, anthologies and journals.

• Shannon Taggart, Brooklyn-based photographer and independent researcher.

• Meredith Yayanos, musician, writer, traveler, and the co-founder / Editor in Chief of Coilhouse Magazine & Blog.

The Occult Humanities Conference will be held at NYU Steinhardt Department of Arts and Arts Professions, located at 34 Stuyvesant Steet (between East 9th and East 10th streets), Manhattan. For more information and tickets, visit the Occult Humanities Conference website.

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