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The Occult Humanities Conference 2016: Contemporary Art and Scholarship on the Esoteric Traditions


The 2016 Occult Humanities Conference is a weekend conference to be held in New York City on February 5-7, 2016. The conference will present a wide array of voices active in the cultural landscape who are specifically addressing the occult tradition through research, scholarship and artistic practice.

The arts and humanities at present are acutely interested in subjects related to the occult tradition. The tradition represents a rich and varied visual culture that displays a complex set of relations at once culturally specific and global in their transmission. Roughly defined, the occult tradition represents a series of culturally syncretic belief systems with related and overlapping visual histories. Though there are as many ways into this material as there are cultural - and personal - perspectives, universal occult concerns often include a belief in some sort of magic; a longing to connect with an immaterial or trans-personal realm; and a striving for inner-knowledge, refinement of the self, and transformation of one's consciousness - if not one's physical circumstances.

Intensely marginalized throughout most historical periods, these traditions persist and represent an 'underground' perspective that periodically exerts a strong influence on structures of dissent, utopianism and social change. Though history is marked with several so-called "Occult Revivals," the contemporary digital age is a perfect confluence of several factors which make this moment prime for a reexamination of all of the esoteric traditions. While the information age has allowed for easier access to previously obscure writings, imagery, and social contexts, it alternately elicits a deep desire for sensorial experiences and meaning-making once one steps away from the screen.

The presenters at the OHC represent a rich and expanding community of international artists and academics from multiple disciplines across the humanities who share an exuberance and excitement for how the occult traditions interface with their fields of study as well as the culture at large. The small scale of this conference (approximately 100 attendees) will give ticket holders an intimate look at the presenters and their views.

This year's conference coincides with the exhibition Language of the Birds: Occult and Art on display at 80 WSE Gallery, the art gallery of NYU Steinhardt's Department of Art and Art Professions, curated by Pam Grossman.

There will be an onsite exhibition of prints from Carl Jung's The Red Book, courtesy of DigitalFusion.

Books and editions from a variety of vendors will be available for sale thoughout the duration of the conference. Vendors include Inner Traditions, Ouroboros Press, Wonderella Printed, and more...

The Occult Humanities Conference is hosted by Phantasmaphile and the NYU Steinhardt Department of Art and Art Professions

February 5-7, 2016
34 Stuyvesant St. New York, NY