Smoke politics

smoke politics

One of the most widespread uses of smoke has been the invocation of spirits. Its dense volatility and appearance make it ideal for calling and receiving beings from other worlds. By means of the inhalation of smoke, the spirit penetrates the body of the living to possess it and convert it into the means for its own resurrection. The invaded body is dispossessed of a part of itself and dissociated, allowing it to plot a journey beyond its own individuality, to reach a certain type of transcendental experience. The modern habits turned its inhalation in the most innovative way of consumption of stimulants like tobacco.

As part of the project Stimulants: Circulation and Euphoria, we would like to present "Smoke Politics" a section that comprises a series of conferences from different dead authors, that will be pronounced, commented, staged, by different guest authors throughout 2016. Thereby, the voices from writers, philosophers, politicians, poets, chemicals and artists like Karl Kraus, Simone Weil, Aby Warburg, Albert Hofmann, Jóse Martí, María Zambrano or David Foster Wallace, will be invoked by authors like Asier Mendizabal (artist), Esteban Zamora (philosopher) Gema Intxausti (artist), Xabier Arakistain (art curator), Danele Sarriugarte (writer), Josebe Martínez (anthropologist), Lars Bang Larsen (writer and independent curator) or Valentín Roma (writer and independent curator).

Anthropology notes that possession is intimately related to the belief in the spirits, which are invoked and received as bearers of knowledge. A practice that would not make sense in a world that is able to rationalize just a linear and homogeneous sense of time.

Aby Warburg, historian of images, made use of the term "survival" to redefine our cultural heritage as a giant network of different time frames. In his reflexion, he used to insist in the dissemination of a historical time in multiple layers and densities. A whirlwind in which an endless cross relations occur and where images from the past come back again and again, resurrecting. The vocabulary which Warburg confront the history of images contains key words like strength or power, in a vital dimension way of understanding art.

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