Occult Performances and Reflections: The everyday occult in visual culture

Session Convenors

Michelle Foot, University of Edinburgh mfoot@exseed.ed.ac.uk

Lucy Weir, University of Edinburgh lucy.weir@ed.ac.uk

Session Abstract

The occult – the hidden – has been prevalent in various art forms for centuries. Christopher Partridge coined the term ‘occulture’ in 2004 in an effort to recognise the occult in the everyday, theorising the processes involved when popular culture disseminates occult ideas and beliefs to a wider audience. These occult and esoteric traditions are no longer hidden; instead the culture in which they are embedded has become familiar – they are ordinary and everyday.

Visual culture, as part of a broader popular culture, represents a fertile vehicle for the occult to enter everyday consciousness, even when the esoteric origins of those ideas remain unknown to the receiver. This is in opposition to secretive practices of a cultic milieu, when the occult was intended for an exclusive audience privileged with sacred and mysterious knowledge, such as, for example, ritual performances by and for adepts of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

This session proposes to investigate the reflection and representation of occult ideas, beliefs and practices that manifest in everyday and popular forms of art from the 1870s to the present day. Focusing particularly on performance art, such as theatre and dance, as well as film, photography and print, this session would invite papers to explore occult currents in visual culture from any geographical location. In addition to academic papers, this session would welcome interdisciplinary approaches from performers and artists.

To offer a paper
Please email your paper proposal direct to the session convenors, details above.

Provide a title and abstract (250 words maximum) for a 25-minute paper (unless otherwise specified), your name and institutional affiliation (if any).

Please make sure the title is concise and reflects the contents of the paper because it will appear online, in social media and in the printed programme.

You should receive an acknowledgement of receipt of your submission within two weeks from the session convenors.

Deadline for submissions: Monday 5 November 2018

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