Dazed Digital profiles Erik Davis, a genuinely obscure cult figure in the world of esoterica who authored the classic media studies text Techgnosis: Myth, Magic and Mysticism in the Age of Information.
Erik Davis is also a host for the Expanding Mind podcast, which is featured weekly on RS’s Conscious Podcasts.
From Dazed Digital:
Dig deep into the world of cultural esoterica and you’re bound to find someone who’s dug there before. That’s particularly true of the cults of California and the mysticism of the global online, where Erik Davis has long laid claim. Cali-born and raised, the self-proclaimed “participant anthropologist” has been exploring the world of the weird since the 90s, in the process becoming a cult idol himself. Respected by many, virtually unknown by most, Davis is a journalist, academic and writer whose ‘multiperspectival’ mind generated The Visionary State and Techgnosis: Myth, Magic and Mysticism in the Age of Information. One, a coffee table book of essays and photos documenting the subcultures and belief systems rife in the west coast region where he still lives. The other, a classic media studies text, published in 1998 and evolved into a much-referenced, oft-updated website, techgnosis.com, investigating media, information transfer and conceptual engineering from a standpoint of universal human obsession.
Davis’ early days in music journalism ran from rock with Village Voice, Spin and The Rolling Stonein the early 90s, through to the miscellaneous arts explored in now-defunct cyberculture magazine, Mondo 2000 and Wired. It was in an article in the latter that he became one of the first to link techno music to a kind of neo-tribal ritualism, a transfer of the “imaginative interfaces” of Pagan mysticism to the, as yet, still niche networks of the digital world, in ‘TechnoPagans: May the astral plane be reborn in cyberspace’ in 1995. He’s since expanded on that into rave-as-mass-ritual, uncovering the psychedelic trance (now known as ‘psy-trance’) in Goa, India, as early as the 90s, where Genesis P Orridge of Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV described it as “facilitator of devotional experience” to Ibiza’s “horny disco”.