Shannon Taggart Symposium!
WEIRD STUDIES Live, with JF Martel & Phil Ford
Thursday, July 27th, 2023, Lily Dale Fire Hall, 8pm-10pm
$40 per person | $225 Full Program
Professor Phil Ford and writer J.F. Martel record a live episode of Weird Studies, an arts and philosophy podcast exploring ideas that are hard to think and art that opens up rifts in what we are pleased to call "reality."
Symposium, Part I:
Friday, July 28th, Lily Dale Auditorium, 9am – 6pm
$110 per person | $225 Full Program
Authors of phenomenal topics discuss their books and the processes that brought them into being.
Copies will be available for purchase & signing.
Reclaiming Art, with JF Martel
Drawing on examples ranging from Paleolithic cave paintings to contemporary pop music, Reclaiming Art in the Age of Artifice argues that art is an inborn human phenomenon that precedes the formation of culture and even society. The book places art alongside languages and the biosphere as something endangered by the onslaught of predatory capitalism, spectacle culture, and myopic technological innovation, while also reminding us of its unique power to awaken us to the fundamental mysteries.
Touched by The Hand of Ithell: Writing Genius of the Fern Loved Gully, with Amy Hale
Amy Hale first learned of Ithell Colquhoun while having lunch with a friend in Cornwall twenty-two years ago. At the time, Colquhoun was a little-known surrealist with a relatively obscure reputation in Britain’s occult underground. Since then, her reputation has exploded, not only as a unique force in the wider story of women’s surrealism as an innovator in automatic methods, but also as a significant esoteric theorist, essayist, and novelist. In this illustrated talk, Amy Hale will tell the story of her two decades of research and discovery into the life and work of Ithell Colquhoun that led to the 2020 biography Genius of the Fern Loved Gully (Strange Attractor Press) and explore the convergence of cultural moments currently illuminating her work.
Ted Serios: The Mind's Eye, with Emily Hauver
In the 1960s, Ted Serios was purportedly able to document his inner thoughts on Polaroid film in a process called 'thoughtography.' Contemporaneous investigations into Serios's claims produced a vast body of evidence, now held in the University of Maryland Baltimore County's Special Collections. Ted Serios: The Mind's Eye (Atelier Éditions 2023) explores multiple dimensions of the Serios phenomenon through essays by several contributors. Rather than focusing on the validity of Serios's claims, the book encourages readers to arrive at their own conclusions. Curator Emily Hauver will speak about how the publication was actualized following ten years of research and two exhibitions drawn from the Serios/Eisenbud archive. Emily will also share compelling documents uncovered while researching the exhibitions and book, discussing how these records contribute to the ambiguity surrounding the Serios phenomenon rather than its resolution.
Break – 12:00pm – 2pm
Publishing the Paranormal, with Charles and Penelope Emmons
After writing about apparitions (Chinese Ghosts, 1982, 2017) and UFO researchers (At the Threshold, 1997), sociologist Charles F. Emmons joined his wife Penelope Emmons, a counselor and intuitive, in research on spirit mediums (Guided by Spirit, 2003) and on the connections between “objective” scientific studies of anomalies and “subjective” ways of knowing (Science and Spirit, 2012). In this presentation, Charles and Penelope will discuss how their personal journeys inspired them to pursue new strategies for studying and publishing on things “paranormal” or “spiritual.”
Grave, with Allison C. Meier
Allison C. Meier has been leading cemetery tours in the New York City area since 2011, including to graves of Spiritualists and mediums such as Mollie Fancher and the Fox Sisters whose memorials have endured as places of pilgrimage. Her 2023 book Grave, published by Bloomsbury as part of the Object Lessons book series about the hidden lives of ordinary things, is based on her on-the-ground research on the American cemetery. From the 19th-century movement to transform burial grounds into park-like spaces to the rise of cremation and green burial, the grave has radically changed over time. Now there are new opportunities to make cemeteries places where the dead are honored as part of a living community.
Séance: Spiritualism, Photography and the Search for Ectoplasm, with Shannon Taggart
Shannon Taggart first learned of Spiritualism as a teenager after a medium revealed details about her grandfather’s death that proved to be true. In 2001, she began photographing in the town where that message was received: Lily Dale, New York. Her project soon expanded to include séance rooms around the world in a quest to find and photograph ectoplasm – the elusive substance that is said to be both spiritual and material. In this illustrated presentation, Shannon will share stories and pictures from twenty years of photographing mediumship, explaining how two decades of investigation developed into the book Séance (Fulgur Press 2019, Atelier Éditions 2022). Spiritualism’s influence on art, technology, and politics, its relationship with celebrity spirits, and the religion’s intrinsic bond with photography will be part of the discussion.
Music from Elsewhere, with Doug Skinner
Music from Elsewhere (Strange Attractor Press 2023) collects music attributed to non-human inspiration—tunes from fairies, trolls, trows, angels, spirits, and aliens—as well as examples of musical ciphers, imaginary music, and speculative music: categories that often combine and overlap in unpredictable ways. In this presentation, composer/performer Doug Skinner plays some of the pieces from his archive and tells the stories behind them, including channeled music by the Shaker community, the Fox sisters, and the “musical medium” Rosemary Brown.