05.03.22 at feldfünf with Mary Maggic and Johanna Hedva //
06.03.22 online with Alice Sparklykat and Mai Ishikawa Sutton //
We’re witnessing a revival in occultism and esoteric practices, at least in our queer communities online and in Berlin. It may be a stretch, but for us the muddy quagmire of these times bears strange resemblance to another complicated time in Western European history: the 1800s. The industrialization period was characterized in part by a surge of belief in the supernatural as esoteric practices rose in popularity. Photography and the telegraph—inherently phantasmagorical technologies—were having their heyday and disrupting the seemingly irrevocable split between the living and the dead, time and space.
We live in an upside down and topsy-turvy period of supernatural technologies, such as predictive analytics, domestic AI companions, and war and surveillance machinery. In this sociopolitical climate of hypercapitalism and neocolonialism, alternative systems such as astrology and tarot are, for many, self-soothing and empowering resources for emotional processing. But is esoteria a transformative tool to escape the toxicity of the unlivable present—or are we just fooling ourselves?
Welcome to bogside down pt. 2, a weekend guaranteed to raise some eyebrows: packed with readings, videos, and talks on the belief systems we think of as alternative. As COVEN finishes YEAR OF THE BOG, we ask: what void do they fill, how are they radical, or to what extent are they deeply married to hegemonic systems, and why is it that they still help us get through the day?
This is the last event of COVEN BERLIN’s YEAR OF THE BOG, our long-term investigation of the bog as a queer ecosystem. Not much grows in bogs, but what does flourish is as mysterious as carnivorous plants. In our CYBERBOG, you will be able to find the audiovisual material that we have gathered during this collaborative journey.
SATURDAY, 5th MARCH
IN-PERSON EVENT: Register here!
Feldfünf, Fromet-und-Moses-Mendelssohn-Platz 7-8, 10969 Berlin
Mary Maggic Screening, 18:00
Multi-media artist and hormone hacker Mary Maggic will screen “2022 Astrology Forecast for the Bog,” a film (20 mins) they made for COVEN, which is an artistic astrological forecast for The Year of The Bog. Maggic’s film looks at how actual astrological transits affect the ecology and fortune of our bog, which was born on the Spring Equinox of 2021.
Johanna Hedva Reading
Artist and writer Hedva will read a piece of short fiction on AI and witchcraft, drawing on the idea that most divination can be understood as forms of artificial intelligence. This will be followed by a short discussion between COVEN BERLIN and Hedva.
This event requires a same-day COVID test for all visitors. Please wear your mask inside.
Please test yourself within 24 hours before coming. The nearest test center is close to the Kochstraße Ubahn train station, open Saturday from 6:30- 21:00. For those who forget to get tested, there will be some self-tests available, but in that case, please come early. Legally we must follow 2G+ rules and will be checking your vaccination, test, and recovery status.
The venue is ground floor with wheelchair accessible spaces, including gender-neutral toilets. The space is such that there are big windows that open to a large public outdoor area, so the indoor spaces are well ventilated. Chairs with backs are available.
The venue is 400 meters from the U6 Bahnhof Kochstr./Checkpoint Charlie. There is an elevator from the U6 platform to the sidewalk. There are many deep curb drops and there are cobblestones on the sidewalks on the way to the venue, so the way is not smooth.
There will be a live automatic captioning service projected in the space in written English. Videos will be shown with captions. Speakers will speak into microphones. The event is in spoken English. Whisper translation into German is available upon request.
Please send us any access needs or wishes by 28.02. To firstname.lastname@example.org. We have an access budget to help accommodate your needs. For example, let us know if you would like childcare, someone to pick you up from the U-Bahn, a scent-free space, etc., and we will do our best to accommodate you!
SUNDAY, 6th MARCH
17:00 Enter our online Gather Space
set up your avatars, visit, mingle. We will be available to help and chat on Gather and Instagram :-).
18:00 Talks by Mai Ishikawa Sutton and Alice Sparklykat
Digital activist and writer Mai Ishikawa Sutton will present research on the need to find eroticism – as defined by Audrey Lorde – in the digital commons. Then, astrologer Alice Sparklykat will give a presentation on astrology as prophecy. Prophecy is a metaphor that shifts our perception of the past, the present, and the future. Astrology is a language that is used to tell different stories about time. Astrology is Prophecy is about how to use astrology in order to imagine and create different futures.
~ ~ ~ Break and explore Gather 😉
19:30 Panel discussion: Mai Ishikawa Sutton, Alice Sparklykat, and COVEN BERLIN
Departing from the memes that joke, “cryptocurrency is just astrology for boys,” we want to discuss the mediation of esoteric practices through digital power structures.
Afterparty: online cocktails in Gather 🍸.
This event will be online. It will be hosted on Gather. Join our Gather Space.
Gather is a chatroom/livestreaming service where you have an avatar and can explore a virtual space together. We encourage you to join Gather beforehand, where you can watch a tutorial, design your character, and try a demo.
Here is Gather’s accessibility information.
COVEN members will be available on both platforms for help and guidance. The event is in English.
Please send us any access needs or wishes by 28.02. to email@example.com. We have an access budget to help accommodate your needs. For example, let us know if you would like German simultaneous translation, someone to individually help you learn how to use Gather, etc.
Johanna Hedva (they/them) is a Korean-American writer, artist, and musician, who was raised in Los Angeles by a family of witches, and now lives between LA and Berlin. Hedva is the author of Minerva the Miscarriage of the Brain (Sming Sming/Wolfman 2020), a collection of poems, performances, and essays, and the novel On Hell (Sator/Two Dollar Radio 2018). Their album Black Moon Lilith in Pisces in the 4th House, a doom-metal guitar and voice performance influenced by Korean shamanist ritual, was released in January 2021, and their 2019 album The Sun and the Moon had two of its tracks played on the moon. Their work has been shown in Berlin at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Klosterruine, and Institute of Cultural Inquiry; The Institute of Contemporary Arts in London; Performance Space New York; Gyeongnam Art Museum in South Korea; the LA Architecture and Design Museum; and the Museum of Contemporary Art on the Moon. Their writing has appeared in Triple Canopy, frieze, The White Review, and is anthologized in Whitechapel: Documents of Contemporary Art. Their essay “Sick Woman Theory,” published in 2016 in Mask, has been translated into ten languages.
Mary Maggic is a non-binary Chinese-American artist currently based in Vienna, Austria. Their work spans amateur science, public workshopology, performance, installation, documentary film, and speculative fiction. Since 2015, Maggic’s research has centered on hormone biopolitics and environmental toxicity, and how the ethos and methodologies of biohacking can serve to demystify invisible lines of molecular (bio)power. Maggic is a current member of the online network Hackteria: Open Source Biological Art, the laboratory theater collective Aliens in Green, the Asian artist collective Mai Ling Vienna, as well as a contributor to the radical syllabus project Pirate Care and to the online Cyberfeminism Index.
Alice Sparklykat is an astrologer and writer whose “mission with astrology is this: to take back the language of the cosmos from capitalism and supremacy and to use it for the creation of communities of care.” They recently authored Postcolonial Astrology: Reading the Planets through Capital, Power, and Labor and have a popular Instagram astrology account, especially beloved by queers.
Mai Ishikawa Sutton is an organizer, facilitator, writer, & editor. Their work focuses on the intersection of technology and the solidarity economy. They are co-founder and editor of COMPOST (compost.digital/), an online decentralized magazine and creative lab to cultivate the digital commons.