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If we sneak along the less obvious alleys of technology we may
find something that surprisingly shades the rational mind. That
inherent in scientific progress and grandiose technological
development, steam as well as positron, lays myth, magic and
mysticism. Not as traces of superstition or half-remembered
religious rules of moral conduct, but embedded deeply in the flesh
of steel, plastic and atomism; an inseparable marriage of human
This is not a crack in the system. Neither is it shards to be
collected and discarded. It is a reminder that there is no rational
thoughts without feelings and no feelings without some rationality.
In other words, we can take a step further and propose; there is no
science without a little faith. To pose the opposite would be to
deny that which makes us human. But being so, as an ironic twist,
also makes us more susceptible to dogmatic systems when confronted
by the complexity of an ideologic terrain.
But there are maps indicating where the monsters dwell. Crystal
clearly devised by scholars such as Erik Davis and Mary Midgley and
more murkier ones, usually by artists. This is not an indication of
quality but rather in its creators ability to travel within the
contemporary symbolic universe and utterly immerse in its murky
depths...and in some cases lose all traces of objectivity.
Down the more murkier roads we may find Carl-Erik Engqvist.
Appropriating the role of a scientific preacher or a corporate
shaman Engqvist engages himself with investigations concerning the
potential of virtual realities, bio-, nano- and robot technology.
Combining his background of theology with artistic ideas revolving
around technological development, corporate structures and
scientific breakthroughs Engqvist tries to create hybrids and
symbiotic states that represents contemporary and future uses of
the concept of the sacred but also the spiritual realm in
A pluralistic concept of reality demands a flexibility of mind,
medium and body. Much like a free roaming RPG in the style of the
different Eldar Scrolls, where the character defines and develops
itself through a series of choices inherent in the freedom of
gameplay(leveling up being just as easy when collecting herbs as in
banging in bandits heads), an artistic praxis may sidestep the line
of established methods in its actual function as an artist.
Interesting results are in any way not a guarantee, so the choice
matters only in making one.
Currently Engqvist is working as an Artistic Project Leader at
HUMlab, an interdisciplinary digital humanities laboratory placed
in Umeå, in the north of Sweden, where he has been based since
2009, when he graduated from the Umeå Academy of Fine Arts. In the
context of the lab Engqvist has been offered a diversity of
perspectives of the digital as well as a wide range of different
collaborations with technicians and academia alike. Within the lab
Engqvist is occupied with a wide range of activities; ranging from
education, projects to changing the physical environment(reality)