ERIK DAVIS

1336 Willard St., Apt. A San Francisco, CA • erik(at)techgnosis.com

EDUCATION

  • PhD candidate, Rice University, Department of Religion
  • Master of Arts, Rice University, Department of Religion, 2014; certificate in the GEM (Gnosticism, Esotericism, and Mysticism) program, the largest university concentration of its kind
  • Bachelor of Arts, English, Yale University, 1988; Magna cum laude
  • PUBLICATIONS

    BOOKS

    • Nomad Codes: Adventures in Modern Esoterica, Yeti Books, 2010
    • The Visionary State: A Journey through California’s Spiritual Landscape, with photography by Michael Rauner, Chronicle Books, 2006
    • Led Zeppelin IV, Continuum Books, 2005
    • TechGnosis: Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in the Age of Information, Harmony Books, 1998; republished Serpents Tail, 2004; republished North Atlantic Books, 2015. This text has also been translated into five languages.

    ACADEMIC CHAPTERS

    • “The Hymn of Philip K. Dick: Reading, Writing, and Gnosis in the Exegesis,” in Alexander Dunst, Stefan Schlensag, eds., Future Matters: The Persistence of Philip K. Dick, Palgrave, forthcoming
    • “The Inner Flesh: Michel Henry’s Mystic Phenomenology,” in Joshua Ramey, Matthew Faar Harris, eds., The Enigma of the Absolute: Heresy, Gnosis, and Speculation in Theory and Practice, submitted for publication
    • “The Psychedelic Book of the Dead,” in Claire Fanger, ed. Crafting Knowledge, submitted for publication
    • “Babalon Launching: Jack Parsons, Rocketry, and the Method of Science,” in Edward Bever, Randall Styers, eds., Magic in the Modern World: Strategies of Repression and Legitimization, submitted for publication
    • “Golden States of Mind: A Geography of California Consciousness,” co-authored with Jonathan Taylor, in Stanley Brunn, ed., Changing World Religions Map, Springer, 2014
    • Entries on “H.P. Lovecraft,” “Robert Anton Wilson,” and “Counterculture and the Occult,” in Christopher Partridge, ed. The Occult World, Routledge, 2014
    • “Roots and Wires: Polyrhythmic Tricks and the Black Electronic,” in Sound Unbound: Writings on Contemporary Multimedia and Music Culture, ed. Paul Miller, MIT Press, 2008
    • “Beyond Belief: The Cults of Burning Man,” in AfterBurn: Reflections on Burning Man, ed. Lee Gilmore and Mark Van Proyen, University of New Mexico Press, 2005
    • “Hedonic Tantra: Golden Goa’s Trance Transmission,” in Rave Ascension, ed. Graham St. John, Routledge, 2003
    • “Techgnosis: Magic, Memory and the Angels of Information,” reprinted in Cyber Reader: Critical Writings for the Digital Era, ed. Neil Spiller, Phaidon, 2002
    • “Synthetic Meditations: Descartes in the Matrix, ” in Prefiguring Cyberculture, eds. A. Cavallaro, A. Johnson, D. Tofts, MIT Press, 2002
    • “Information Everywhere.,” in i in the Sky: Visions of the Information Future, ed. Alison Scammell, Aslib, UK, 1999
    • “Technoculture and the Religious Imagination,” in Bulldozer, Media Research Alapitvany, Hungary, 1997
    • “TechGnosis: Magic, Memory, and the Angels of Information,” in Flame Wars, ed. Mark Dery, Duke University Press, 1994

    POPULAR CHAPTERS

    • “Babalon Rising: Jack Parsons’ Witchcraft Prophecy,” in A Rose Veiled in Black: Arcana and Art of Our Lady Babalon, ed. Robert Fitzgerald and Daniel A. Schulke, Three Hands, 2016
    • “Ligeti’s Requiem,” in Epiphanies, ed. Tony Harrington, Wire Books, 2015
    • “Wondrous Horror,” Introduction to William Hope Hodgson, The Night Land, HiLo Books, 2013
    • “Calling Cthulhu” in Darklore 5, ed. Greg Taylor, Disinformation, 2010
    • “Kosmiche,” in Krautrock, ed. Nikolaos Kotsopoulos, Black Dog, 2009
    • “Adventures in Inner Space,” in The Journeybook: Travels on the Frontier of Consciousness, Undergrowth, 2009
    • “Burning Men,” in Toward 2012, ed. Daniel Pinchbeck and Ken Jordan, Tarcher, 2009
    • Foreword, Nog, by Rudy Wurlitzer, Two Dollar Radio, 2009
    • Foreword, Welcome to Mars, by Ken Hollings, Strange Attractor, 2009
    • Foreword, The Psychedelic Reader, edited Timothy Leary, Citadel, 2008
    • “Always Coming Home,” Best Music Writing 2007, ed. Robert Christgau, Da Capo, 2007
    • Introduction, The Source, by Isis Aquarian, Process, 2007
    • “The Verge Extreme,” Everything You Know About God is Wrong, Disinformation, 2007
    • “The New Eye,” True Visions, Betty Books, 2006
    • “Tecnocultura e immaginazione religiosa” Dialogare nel Mito, ed. Fabrice Olivier Dubosc, Vivarium, Italy, 2004
    • “Calling Cthulhu” Book of Lies, ed. Richard Metzger, Disinformation, 2003
    • “Only a Northern Song,” De Capo Best Music Writing 2002, ed. Jonathan Lethem, De Capo, 2002
    • “Recording Angels,” Undercurrents: The Hidden Wiring Of Modern Music, ed. Rob Young, Continuum Books, London, 2002
    • “The Paisley Gate,” Zig Zag Zen, ed. Alan Hunt-Badiner, Chronicle Books, 2002
    • “Meditating in Sensurround,” Radical Spirit, ed. Stephen Dinan, New World Library, 2002
    • “Technomancer: Philip K. Dick’s Signal Achievements,” War of the Words: The VLS Anthology on Contemporary Literature, ed. Joy Press, Three Rivers Press, 2001
    • “Interview with Erik Davis,” Modern Pagans, ed. V. Vale, ReSearch, 2001
    • “From the Gaian Mind to the Indranet: The Pop Metaphysics of Digital Connection,” Intertwinedness, ed. Margarete Jahrmann and Christa Schneebauer, Ritterverlag, Germany, 2000
    • “Interview: Technology is a Trickster God,” 21st Century Revolutionary, by R. U. Sirius, Fringecore, 1999
    • “Acoustic Space,” Read Me! ASCII Culture and the Revenge of Knowledge, ed. Josephine Bosma, Autonomedia, 1999
    • “Here is Postmodern Space,” Burning Man, ed. Brad Wieners, Hardwired, 1997
    • “True Believers,” in The Press of Ideas, ed. Julie Dock, Bedford Books, 1996
    • Guest Editor, Fringeware Review, issue 10: Chaos Spirituality, February 1996

    JOURNALS

    • “Return Trip: The Re-Enchantment of Psychedelics,” Mind & Matter, Volume 10, No. 2 (2012)
    • Review: “Jesper Aasgard Petersen, ed.: Contemporary Religious Satanism,” Magic, Ritual and Witchcraft, Vol. 6, no.1 (Summer 2011)
    • Review: “Hideous Gnosis: Black Metal Theory Symposium,” Religious Studies Review, Vol. 37, Is. 2, (June 2011)
    • Review: “Caroline Cusack: Invented Religions,” Journal of Religion Vol. 91, No. 3. (July 2011)
    • “Technoculture and the Religious Imagination,” Journal of Cognitive Liberties, vol III, 2 (2002)

    ART PUBLICATIONS

    • “Foreword,” HFT The Gardener, Suzanne Treister, Black Dog Publishing, 2016
    • “Secret Earths,” in Rare Earth, ed. Nadim Samman, Boris Ondreicka, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, 2015
    • Gallery Tour, Hayward Gallery, UK, “The Alternative Guide to the Universe”
    • “The Thing is Alive,” in The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things, Mark Leckey, Hayward Publishing, 2013
    • “Interview: Transformative Crisis,” Plazm, 30, 2011
    • Introduction, Tribal Revival, photographs by Kyer Wiltshire, 2009
    • Introduction, Mushroom Magick: A Visionary Field Guide, Arik Roper, Abrams, 2008
    • “Visionary Art,” Visionary Art from the Cyberzone, Mondo Bizarro Press, Italy, 2005
    • Introduction, Anna Noelle Rockwell, artist book, Tesori, 2003
    • “Mutant Kiddies,” Mutant Kiddies, Mondo Bizarro Press, Italy, 2003
    • “Experience Design” in Arcadia: Writings on Theology and Technology, Anat, Australia, 2001
    • “Anchors Aweigh!” in 010101:Art in Technological Times, SFMOMA, 2001
    • “Millennial Light” in Vectorial Elevation, ed. Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Conaculta, Mexico, 2000
    • “Techgnosis and the Indranet,” in Art_Server: Stargate to Netculture, ed. Margarete Jahrmann, O.K. Center for Contemporary Arts, Austria, 2000
    • Text and story contribution to Linx3D, Margarete Jahrmann and Max Moswitzers, at ZKM Karlsruhe, AVL ArtGate Graz, Mecad Barcelona, 1999
    • “Polyrhythme, Cyberspace et Électronique Noire” in Nomad’s Land, France, 1999
    • “Dancing Machines,” in Nomad’s Land, France, 1998
    • “Parabolic People,” in Chimaera Monographie: Sandra Kogut, Centre International de Création Vidéo, France, 1995

    AWARDS

    2000:  Maggie Award from the Western Publication Association for Best Profile: “Alien Views,” San Francisco Magazine
    1988:  Henry Strong Prize for American literary history, Yale University
    1987:  Curtis Prize for excellence in English composition, Yale University

    TEACHING

    • Instructor, “The Creative Cultural Essay,” Rice University, Department of English, Fall 2011
    • Lecturer, “The Archetype of the Trickster,” Pacifica Graduate Institute, Spring 2010
    • Lecturer, “Technology and Popular Culture,” Technoculture Studies, University of California, Davis, Winter 2007
    • Lecturer, “The Spiritual and Visionary in Modern Art,” Department of Art Practice, University of California, Berkeley, Fall 2006
    • “The Occult in America,” seminar, Esalen Institute, with Mitch Horowitz, Spring 2010
    • Online course, “Writing Extraordinary Experience,” Maybe Logic Academy, March 2010
    • Visiting Writer, Goddard College, Port Townsend, February 2010
    • Visiting Writer, Goddard College, Vermont, January 2010
    • Online course, “The Magickal Realism of H.P. Lovecraft,” Maybe Logic Academy, November 2009
    • Lecturer, “A Brief History of the Phantasm,” Pacifica Graduate Institute, Fall 2009
    • Online course, “Gnosis Now!” Maybe Logic Academy, February 2009
    • Online course, “The Crazy Wisdom of Philip K. Dick,” Maybe Logic Academy, September 2007
    • “The Visionary State,” seminar, Esalen Institute, Spring 2005
    • “The Altered State: California’s Spiritual Heritage,” seminar, California Institute for Integral Studies, Winter 2003
    • “Trialogues for a New Millennium 2,” seminar, Esalen Institute, with Douglas Rushkoff and Mark Pesce, Summer 2002
    • “Trialogues for a New Millennium,” seminar, Esalen Institute, with Douglas Rushkoff and Mark Pesce, Summer 2001
    • “The Metaphysics of Cyberspace,” Department of Philosophy and Cosmology, co-taught with Professor David Ulansey, California Institute of Integral Studies, Spring 1998

    SELECTED PAPERS, LECTURES, AND CONFERENCE APPEARANCES

    2016

    • Morbid Anatomy Museum, Brooklyn: “The Psychedelic Book of the Dead”
    • Occult Humanities Conference, NYU, New York: “Swallowing the Stone with the Brothers McKenna”

    2015

    • Society for Literature, Science and the Arts, Rice University: “Re-Animism”
    • Gnostic Countercultures, Rice University: “Stranger in a Strange Land: Philip K. Dick’s Gnostic Script”
    • Psychedelic Society, San Francisco: “Psychedelic Culture at the Crossroads”

    2014

    • Religion in California, University of California Berkeley: “Babalon Rising: Jack Parsons’ Wiccan Prophecy”
    • Artist’s Week, Adelaide Festival, Australia: “Object Oriented Animism”
    • ATA, San Francisco: “Rick Griffin’s Flying Eyeball”,/li>
    • Art PhD Symposium, “Neo-Medievalisms,” Goldsmith’s, London: “The Neo-Medieval”
    • “In Conversation: Desirée Holman,” Di Rosa, Napa, CA, 2014

    2013

    • Gallery Tour, Hayward Gallery, UK, “The Alternative Guide to the Universe”
    • Breaking Convention, London: “The Psychedelic Book of the Dead”
    • Arts Catalyst, London: “The New Animism”
    • Maryland Institute College of Art: “The Art of Rick Griffin”
    • Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, UK: “Object Oriented Animism”
    • James Turrell: Ecologies of Art, Architecture, and Theory, 3CT, Rice University: “James Turrell’s Cosmic Machines”
    • Jung Center, Houston: “Steve Jobs: The Shadow, the Wound, and the Genius Behind Apple”
    • Haverford College: “Object-Oriented Animism”
    • Promega Bioethics Forum: “Shamanism 2.0”

    2012

    • The Paul and Marie Castelfranco Lectures in Religion and Common Understanding, UC Davis: “Steve Jobs: California Visionary”
    • Philip K. Dick: Worlds Our of Joint, Dortmund University, Germany: “How I Learned to Love the Exegesis and So Can You”
    • The Philip K. Dick Festival, San Francisco State: “PKD and Religious Studies”
    • Rockwell Symposium: Crafting Knowledge, Rice University: “The Psychedelic Book of the Dead”
    • Respondent, Divinatory Traditions in East Asia, Rice University
    • The Jung Center, Houston: “Philip K. Dick’s Religious Experience”

    2011

    • Glasscock School of Continuing Studies, Rice University: “The Paranormal and California Consciousness”
    • Religion and Literature Association, Iowa State University: “Reading the Hymn of the Pearl”
    • British Museum: panelist for “Out of this World: Science Fiction Not As You Know It”
    • Jung Center, Houston: “Technology and the Soul”
    • MU Gallery, Eindhoven, NL: “Cybernetic Psychedelia”

    2010

    • After Humanism, Williams College: “The Spiritual Cyborg”
    • SLSA 2010, Indianapolis: “Reading the Exegesis”
    • Horizons, New York: “Between Natural and Supernatural”
    • The Philip K. Dick Festival, Colorado: “Phil Dick’s Dreaming Books”
    • Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness, UC Berkeley: “Ayahuasca Culture”
    • CIIS, San Francisco: “The Century of the Self,” with Fernando Castrillon

    2009

    • Mapping Sacred Ground, Bade Museum, Graduate Theological Union: “Visionary State”
    • Northwest Film Forum, Seattle: “Aleister Crowley on Film”
    • California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco: “Cyborgs, Singularities and the Wild”
    • Oddball Cinema, San Francisco: Media Ecology Salon
    • Silent Movie Theater, “Occult Los Angeles”
    • Philosophical Research Society, Los Angeles: “Esoteric California”
    • Equinox Festival, London: “A Brief History of the Imagination”
    • The Supernatural and Popular Culture, Esalen, California: “Led Zeppelin”

    2008

    • Toward a Science of Consciousness, Tucson, Arizona: “Philip K. Dick and the Problem of Religious Experience”
    • Silent Movie Theatre, Los Angeles: “Occult LA”
    • Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France: “Techgnosis Today”
    • ATA, San Francisco: “Their Satanic Majesties”
    • Liminal Village, Boom festival, Idanha-a-Nova, Portugal: “Wake Up and Dream”
    • Next Nature, Los Angeles: “Analog vs. Digital”
    • Ojai Foundation, Ojai: co-led “Visionary Practice” weekend

    2007

    • Wayne State University: “Cybernetic Subjectivity”
    • Metageum, Birgu, Malta: “Speaking the Stones”
    • Summer Art Criticism Conference, San Francisco Art Institute: Guest seminar leader
    • University of San Francisco: “Led Zeppelin”
    • Santa Rosa Junior College: “The Visionary State”
    • Mindstates, Costa Rica: “Waking Life,” “Philip K. Dick’s Bardo Visions”
    • BLDGBLG SF, California College Arts: “The Visionary State”
    • Experience Music Project, Seattle, Pop Music Studies: “The Analog Ethic”
    • Sonoma County Book Festival, discussion with Johan Raskin

    2006

    • Beat Generation and Beyond, John Natsoulos Center for the Arts, Davis, CA: “The Visionary State”
    • Bioneers: panel, “Shamanic Plants and the Fate of the Earth”
    • UnBlinking: A Cross-Disciplinary Symposium, UC Berkeley: “Picture Book”
    • Charming and Crafty: Witchcraft and Paganism in Contemporary Media, Harvard University: “Led Zeppelin’s Mass Arcanum”
    • Human Enhancement Technologies and Human Rights, Stanford University: “The Posthuman Self”
    • Arthur Ball, Los Angeles: “Analog and Digital”
    • Integral Daylong, San Francisco: “Modern Spirituality”

    2005

    • SFAI, San Francisco: “The Alchemy of Trash”
    • Synergenesis II, San Francisco: “Spiritual Practice”
    • LAPOV festival, Los Angeles: “Visionary Design”
    • In:Vision festival, British Columbia: “Visionary Design”
    • Santa Monica Museum of Art: “Spiritual Abstractions”
    • Experience Music Project, Seattle, Pop Music Studies: “Magick Man: The Occult Productions of Jimmy Page”

    2004

    • ICA, London: “Burning Man”
    • Transmediale 04, Berlin, Germany: “Burning Man”
    • Gage Conference, Hull Time Based Arts, Hull, UK: “Mesmerized”
    • Horse Hospital, London: “Dark Energy” (with Ken Hollings)
    • Altered States and Spiritual Awakening, San Francisco: “California Consciousness”
    • Awe to Action, San Francisco: moderator, Larry Harvey and John Perry Barlow
    • Exploring Consciousness, Bath Spa University, UK: “Media and Consciousness”
    • Mindstates, Oaxaca, Mexico: “Media and Consciousness,” “The Visionary State”

    2003

    • Association of Consumer Research, Toronto, CA: “Virtual Commodities”
    • York University, Toronto, CA: “Burning Man”
    • Strange Attractor, London Theosophical Society, UK: “Cosmic Sounds”
    • ATA, San Francisco, “Psychedelic Film”
    • Altered States and Spiritual Awakening, San Francisco, panel moderator
    • Mindstates IV, “Entering the Matrix”
    • Palenque Norte, Burning Man: “Beyond Belief”
    • Headspace, Burning Man: “Gnosticism”

    2002

    • Dynamic Mythologies Tent, Boom Festival, Portugal, “Bardo Training”
    • Keynote, Subtle Technologies conference, Toronto: “Experience Design”
    • Moderator, SFMOMA panel, “The Digital Museum”
    • Experience Music Project, Seattle, Pop Music Studies: “Transcending Genre”
    • ATA, San Francisco: “Erik Davis on Philip K. Dick”

    2001

    • ATA, San Francisco: “H.P. Lovecraft at the Movies”
    • Keynote, Gallery of New South Wales, “Space Odysseys”: “Experience Design”
    • Festival de Novas Tendências Musicais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil: “Electronic Subjectivity”
    • ManTRANSforms, Sputnik conference, New York: “Take the Red Pill”
    • ICA, London: “Spirit Dot Net”
    • Engelsberg Seminar on “The Future of Religion”, Avesta, Sweden: “The Spiritual Cyborg”
    • Cal State Hayward, lecture: “New Media”
    • Mind States II, Berkeley: MC and lecture on “Psychedelic Culture”
    • Stanford University, lecture: “Techgnosis”