New Mythology

Humans have long created stories of superhuman/supernatural entities and have sought their guidance through rituals. Now, through artificial and machine intelligence, humans have created inhuman entities with superhuman capabilities. And we seek successfully or unsuccessfully to communicate with them and invoke their power for wisdom or profit. We have created new forms of ritual using technology. We have substituted the traditional sacred space with a virtual one. And we commune with one another and with these new divine beings in the digital realm. We have in essence created new mythologies.

New Mythologies will explore the interaction between traditional mythologies and technology and how through this interaction new mythologies and rituals arise.

The course will combine an overview of traditional mythologies and rituals with an exploration of artificial/machine intelligence (e.g. neural networks and deep learning such as TensorFlow) as well as new media artists’ use of technology as a means of interpreting and creating mythologies and rituals. Through readings, discussions and brief writing assignments, we will also investigate the role these new technologies and mythologies play in our ever-changing socio-political climate and in digital colonialism. Though students will have small exercises throughout the semester, these exercises will be directed toward completing one project as a final. Students may make use of any relevant technologies in order to convey a concept of these new technologies’ influence on our ideas of the divine.