Chisenhale Art Place
Thursday, June 6, 2019
Saturday, June 22, 2019
64-84 Chisenhale Rd, Bow, London E3 5QZ
Christopher Collier

Alchemy is a confidence trick, parting rich patrons from their funding, hence obliquely transmuting base metals into gold. Real magic. Thus alchemy is also redistribution, up-ending the usual expropriation of surplus value. The below is the above, the above is the below. Yet alchemy is also a process for transmuting the self and its action upon the world. Like psychoanalysis, it achieves this through the manipulation of ‘cognitive symbol mechanics’. Rather than simply interpreting dreams, however, the point is to change them.

Magic is dream of bringing patterns that shape our thoughts and actions into alignment with our autonomous intentions – or as Engels put it, freedom is the recognition of necessity. Somewhere between Oblique Strategies, medieval Catalan mystic Raymond Llull’s appropriations from the Islamic zā’irjah, and collective self-help, we experiment with hacking these patterns, through the manipulation of symbolic imagery.

The open question is how to develop this process as a practical tool for egalitarian social transformation.

Workshops run 6 June (7-9pm), 16 June (2-4pm), 22 June (2-4pm). They include a quick introduction to alchemical symbolism, a symbol transmutation game based on the zā’irjah, as well the creation of our own symbols, rethinking how these structure our collective reality.

Workshops are free to attend, register here: