Divination Tea

Divination Tea

The Market Studios, Cnr Mary’s Lane & Halston St, Dublin 7

5.30pm, Saturday, 17th  September, 2011

as part of the group show Essomenia curated by Cora Cummins & Saoirse Higgins

I would like to invite you all to partake in a Divination Tea.

I am experiencing a period in my life where imagining ‘the future’ is a difficult thing.  Contributing to this exhibition which examines our obsession with the future feels curiously ironic.  I feel as though I am in suspended animation, I seek solace in the i Ching. I resort to the very Irish and British habit of taking some tea when faced with adversity or a problem in the hopes of finding an answer in contemplative space. I am interested in employing modest means to open up big questions.

I have lots of questions, do you? In particular I am perplexed about how we might enact public life differently.

Whether or not you are available to come to Tea I’d like to invite you to contribute your own personal question about our common future [i]

Your questions will become the focus within the Divination Tea, which will involve, reading tea leaves together, consulting the iChing and some bibliomancy [ii] involving your favourite books (perhaps a book you keep returning to, it can be factual, fictional or philosophical).

The liner concept of Messianic Time has failed us along with the modernist notion of progress.  A better life is deferred and we are led to believe that our world, is ‘the least bad of possible worlds’ [iii].  I’d like to raise questions and answers in relation to a different concept of the future, where we imagine the future we want is already present [iv].  To take a collective leap of faith into a future we want rather than one that seems inevitable or dependant on ‘expert Others’.

How will we inhabit the future together?

I look forward to chatting with you all. Please register interest in attending and send your question/s about our common future by email in advance, to open the discussion at our Divination event.

E: monica.flynn@gmail.com
[i] Our way of life, e.g. Aristotle describes happiness (eudaimonia) as a virtueous life (one of areté) which involves self-sufficiency, not in the individual sense, but within the context of a community.  Eudaimonia for Aristotle involves reason and action taking place over a lifetime as “one swallow does not make a spring”.

[ii] According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word bibliomancy means from biblio- “books” and -mancy “divination by means of”) “divination by books, or by verses of the Bible.  Sometimes this term is used synonymously with stichomancy (from sticho- “row, line, verse”) “divination by lines of verse in books taken at hazard”, which was first recorded ca. 1693 (Urquhart’s Rabelais).  Bibliomancy compares with rhapsodomancy (from rhapsode “poem, song, ode”) “divination by reading a random passage from a poem”. A historical precedent was the ancient Roman practice of sortes ‘sortilege, divination by drawing lots”, which specialized into sortes Homerica, sortes Virgilianae and sortes Sanctorum, using the texts of Homer, Virgil, and the Bible.

[iii] Slavoj Žižek, First as Tragedy, Then as Farce, Verso, London (2009) referring to Badiou’s futur antérieur suggests that events seem inevitable only retrospectively, we can act for alternative outcomes without full knowledge, as in an act of faith.

[iv] Ibid, Pg28


Preview: 6.30pm, Sun 11 Sept, The People’s Park, Dun Laoghaire

*essomenia– showing things as they will be in the future.


What does it mean to be future oriented, to be a futurist in the 21st century?

Essomenia-the act of predicting the future- has been a subject of both melancholic and optimistic (and even ecstatic) contemplation, inspiration, anxiety and joy for generations of artists, philosophers, writers, designers, politicians, activists and visionaries. Is the notion of hopeful visions of the future just a modernist nostalgia? Or should we hope again – even in these compromised, commoditized times? Many see glimmers of possibility for change amongst the rubble of collapse …

In the current context of global market collapse; government upheaval; international protests-18 artists reflect and predict and fantasise what the future means to them.

where: People’s Park and Cafe, Dun Laoghaire, Co.Dublin.

DART stop: Sandycove

when: Opening 11th September 6-8pm. future music by Check the Guns

exhibition dates: Monday 12th – Saturday 17th September. 9am-6pm

curated by: Saoirse Higgins and Cora Cummins

funded by the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Council

graphics by Clare Lynch