1 February 2024
Techniques of Enchantment. Magic and Contemporary Technology

Sofia Pirandello

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2023/24 /ɪˈməːʃən/
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111
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Francesca Romana Gregori

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111
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2023/24 /ɪˈməːʃən/
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25 January 2024
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111
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2 November 2023
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18 May 2023
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research: Seminar

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111

Techniques of Enchantment. Magic and Contemporary Technology

Sofia Pirandello

Despite the fact that in Western countries it is very common to associate magical knowledge and beliefs only with distant times and places, the reference to magic in relation to new digital technologies is actually widespread, both in advertising and in specialist literature. For some time now, magical practices using memes have been gaining ground on social media: on TikTok, in particular, we are witnessing a collective revival and claim of witchcraft. Moreover, while many scholars have already pointed out that online calls and chats are reminiscent of nineteenth-century séances, voice commands resemble spells, while wearable instruments such as smart glasses literally take possession of the user's body, giving them the ability to move and manipulate things at a distance. The tendency to associate these phenomena with the occult is not surprising, given the history of magic and the people who practice it. Although not all techniques can be called magical, magic can be seen as a technique that uses certain movements, formulas and tools, in certain places and under certain conditions. The power attributed to the gesture and the user's body are of particular interest and, combined with the need for technical mediation to activate superpowers, can be examined with reference to categories such as enchantment, charm and fascination. Such a study is thus more specifically a bio-aesthetic one, with implications at both the individual and community levels. In fact, magic has always been practiced as a way of influencing the world: it is performed by elites as well as marginalized subjects, and its analysis can help to understand certain instances of control and power that underlie contemporary technology.

Biography

Sofia Pirandello

Sofia Pirandello is post-doc researcher in Aesthetics at the Department of Philosophy “Piero Martinetti” of the University of Milan. Her research interests concern contemporary theories of imagination, philosophy of technology, media theories and contemporary art. She obtained her PhD degree in Philosophy and Human Sciences at the University of Milan (2023), working on a PhD thesis about augmented reality (AR) feedback on human imagination. She is author of the book Fantastiche presenze. Note su estetica, arte contemporanea e realtà aumentata (Johan & Levi 2023). In the ERC Project AN-ICON she works on aesthetics and politics of AR considered as a phantasmagoric dispositif, also investigating the link between magic and contemporary technology.

research: seminar

Techniques of Enchantment. Magic and Contemporary Technology

Sofia Pirandello

Despite the fact that in Western countries it is very common to associate magical knowledge and beliefs only with distant times and places, the reference to magic in relation to new digital technologies is actually widespread, both in advertising and in specialist literature. For some time now, magical practices using memes have been gaining ground on social media: on TikTok, in particular, we are witnessing a collective revival and claim of witchcraft. Moreover, while many scholars have already pointed out that online calls and chats are reminiscent of nineteenth-century séances, voice commands resemble spells, while wearable instruments such as smart glasses literally take possession of the user's body, giving them the ability to move and manipulate things at a distance. The tendency to associate these phenomena with the occult is not surprising, given the history of magic and the people who practice it. Although not all techniques can be called magical, magic can be seen as a technique that uses certain movements, formulas and tools, in certain places and under certain conditions. The power attributed to the gesture and the user's body are of particular interest and, combined with the need for technical mediation to activate superpowers, can be examined with reference to categories such as enchantment, charm and fascination. Such a study is thus more specifically a bio-aesthetic one, with implications at both the individual and community levels. In fact, magic has always been practiced as a way of influencing the world: it is performed by elites as well as marginalized subjects, and its analysis can help to understand certain instances of control and power that underlie contemporary technology.

1 February 2024
15:00
18:00

Aula Martinetti

Via Festa del Perdono, 7

Techniques of Enchantment. Magic and Contemporary Technology
Sofia Pirandello
Aula Martinetti
Via Festa del Perdono, 7
20240201
15:00
18:00