The Doctrine and Ritual of High Magic: an Adaption with Projections on a New Climate

by Tessa Crespo (MDes ’20)

As an experimental infrastructure, I reimagined the classic archetypes of tarot as a means to reconstitute the human condition and our perceptions of boundary and territory. This required a reexamination of our understanding of being as well as challenging the constructed myths of scarcity and abundance that justify violence towards both human and non-human entities in modern societies. For this project, I reinterpreted a six card spread for our collective climate, where we can look to tarot not as a fortune telling device, but rather a conduit between unconsciousness and consciousness. I believe that alternative modes of representation could empower the disenfranchised and lead towards new forms of legitimacy. Acknowledging that neither frameworks nor facts are static, but rather are continuously being reconstituted, may lead to a form of representation that is more event based than object based. Understanding symbols, such as the border wall, as a phenomenon instead of an object will help us think outside of the constraints of geographic space to speculate on alternative realities or ways of seeing. Experiences constitute our understanding of the world, yet many of the hard sciences avoid the experiential as a legitimate form of knowledge. For this project, I was interested in the idea of tarot as an alternative technocratic device that subverts orthodox projection methods and how a more empathic form of representation could make visible the links between climate change, resource scarcity, and migration.