Digging Deep into the Zombie Complex with J. G. Michael

I was very happy to have conversation recently with J G Michael on his excellent podcast Parallax Views. J.G. asked some excellent questions that allowed us to dig deeper than usual into the historical, psychological and contemporary political implications of the zombie complex.

In it we discuss conceptions of the soul in Haitian Vodou; its role in the revolution and later suppression; primitivism, negrophilia and the romance of revolutionary Vodou amongst avant-garde intellectuals; George Bataille’s ideas about revolutionary violence, excess and General Economy; the notion of somnambulistic trance in debates about cinema and mass media; Papa Doc Duvalier’s political use of Vodou during the dictatorship; and US-UK anti-Vodou Black Ops in the 1940’s and Cold War .

It was good to be drawn into a theoretical discussion about J.G’s interview with Frank B. Wilderson III, author of Afropessimism, and to air some grievances about Wade Davis, author of Serpent and the Rainbow (1985).

Art, Possession and The Revolutionary Unconscious

Below is an illustrated transcript of a lecture I recently gave at the Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm as part of the Xism show and ‘Pig Party’ event curated by Roberto Peyre to coincide with a major Vodou exhibition currently taking place there. I will be writing about the Vodou show and the discussion surrounding it in further posts. I will also post a transcript of the lecture I gave two days later as part of the ‘Sacred Matter and Secular Frames’ symposium organized by Lotten Gustafsson, Curator at the Museum of Ethnography and the National Museum of World Culture. Continue reading “Art, Possession and The Revolutionary Unconscious”