4# | Towards a Gutter Mysticism: Inner Alchemy and the Sub-Real

12 Março 2020 19h00

12 March at 19h00 | Free entry

Zaratan is thrilled to invite for the final lecture from the cycle “Towards a Gutter Mysticism: Inner Alchemy and the Sub-real” presented by Pascal Ansell. Embracing an experimental approach to the act of sharing knowledge, this series encounters the experiences of ritualistic preparation, playfully with different media, languages, and contexts.

Pascal writes: “There have been low points in this series of lectures, for sure! But our conclusion tonight finds its basest level, our feet landing closest to exactly what we have been chasing after all this time. Enemies of dryness, we will champion with glee the first four letters of a very radiant and handy word: Analysis.

Off we go, anal-ysing. Also in slang we find positivity in faecal matter. Shit was transformed into “the shit”, the good stuff. Inspired by this, I will cruelly demonstrate Portuguese life at its lowest, only in order to celebrate it. The abject Praxe rituals of Portugal’s universities are the country’s summit. The dire state of public intellectual engagement, the desert-silence within experimental music scenes; these are all sites of highest altitude. Just to be fair, we’ll consult my new map of an anally retentive England, its own Empire of (mundane, bureaucratic) Signs.

Enemies of dryness and of wetness, our goal is neither conceptual constipation, nor the endless diarrhoea of postmodern theory. The Western praise of constant openness leads to trickly concepts and philosophical wishy-washiness. Taoism’s inner alchemy can teach us to block the holes, while clearing the sewers, blunting the sharp corners of what leaves us, and softening its glare. In order to develop gold, we need to encounter our alchemical ‘nigredo’, the most wretched, dismal, yet fertile substance of internal darkness and healing.

The intestines are quite a journey! We will encounter the wonders of the human sphincter, as celebrated in the Talmud. We will admire animals that eat their own excrement. We will lay a deliberate compost, the rich soil of a new community that will be launched the very night of the lecture. This community is humbly called The Bataille & Inner Alchemy Reading Circle, and we hope to gather the dust of our memories and impressions every fortnight in Lisbon – come along! We will all know, that the real colour of gold contains its own gleaming brown. Together, we will assume a position of commitment and mystical surrender, and that position tonight will be: Squatting.

Short Bio: Pascal Ansell is a writer and musician based in Lisbon. Previous lectures have explored Portuguese football, 'Cooking with Salazar', boxing and the mastery of Joe Meek.