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I'm becoming increasingly wary and interested in the deepening commitment to tech in our world, particularly as we go through this global crisis together. I want to push on our capacity to imagine tech in different ways, to create a new relationship to tech in our lives, and to better prepare us for the challenges ahead.
So I decided to dig up my 2011 conversation with sculptor and tech-magic practitioner, Duncan Laurie. Duncan is the author of the profound book (seriously, everyone should read it!), The Secret Art: A Brief History of Radionic Technology for the Creative Individual. I first heard of Duncan's work with radionics via his segment on the late, great Disinformation series. In that clip, he talks plainly about two strange technologies I'd never heard of. First, radionics, which we primarily discuss on this episode. Second, bio-sensor sonic connection to plants and stones.
I talk at length about what radionics is at the top of the episode, so I won't repeat it here, but the intersection of art, magic, science, and philosophy in radionics opens up completely new pathways for us. Or, to put it different, in Duncan's words, “Information is greater than energy,”
Like AEWCH 91 with Lynn Margulis and AEWCH 97 Diana Young-Peak, this was part of a podcast project I started and abandoned in the early 2010s. I would love to have Duncan back on the show again now that I actually have a show, especially since he's done plenty of work since 2011, obviously. But for now, bear with the less-than-ideal audio/discussion style/my younger voice. It's pretty good, considering!
ON THIS EPISODE
- How Duncan became attuned to the energies of growth and decomposition
- "The first step where you get beyond the dimension of just materialism and the mechanistic viewpoint of life and suddenly just walk into a world where a different set of parameters is at work."
- What happens when we see beyond all materialism, and what radionics's part is in that
- How materialism degrades art and how art erodes materialism
- The disconnect between validating radionics via science versus its use
- Where Duncan sees using magical technology goes
- The problem with seeking proof
- Writer's block as an analogy for not using magic
- How desire connects us to art and to healing
- Taking time out from what is known to look into the unknown
• Duncan created an entire album - Induction Furnace - out of sounds from bio-sensors (the first album of its kind, I believe), and it's a bizarre and wonderful listen. There are other musical bio-sensor works there, too, including a plant responding via bio-sensor to Bob Dylan's "Cocaine". Here's an (unfortunately low-quality) video of Duncan getting rocks and plants to respond to each other with sound. Here's a talk from Duncan at the Gregg Museum. Also, here's a picture from his book, which, again, please get and read.
• Here's a video by two modern radionics practitioners; they break it down in simple terms, although a little materialistically - "systems" "operating" etc. I do like their term for the radionics machine as a "high tech magical wand."
• I wrote an essay about radionics, using them, and also sex (of course) years ago fro Vice.
• Here's an essay on the founder of radionics, Albert Abrams, by one of his students, Eric Perkins.
• The author Upton Sinclair was interested in radionics and other weird science, and he wrote about it in his book Mental Radio.
• Duncan mentions that he's a practitioner of Sura Shabd yoga. Here's a very plain language explanation of it by Master Sirio Ji. The volume is low, so turn it all the way up.
• The United States Psychotronics Association is pretty fascinating, and offers a lot of great new and strange directions.
• Duncan mentions the SE-5, a "radionics computer" which you can look into here.
• Here's a link to a rare interview in The Sun with Cleve Backster, who put biosensors on plants. Unfortunately it's with neo-primitivist transphobe and anti-sex worker activist, Derrick Jensen. But Backster is the focus.
Until next time, friends,