Shadow Visions by Xiaowei Wang

16 Nov, 2021

Shadow Visions by Xiaowei Wang

BCNM D.E. and Geography PhD Xiaowei Wang published their essay "Shadow Visions" in DING Magazine's 4th edition, Correspondences from the Edges. The essay explores divination as an ancestor of predictive technology, and how social power manifests through both.

From "Shadow Visions":

Long before predictive technologies created vectors of power in social systems, ranging from shaping conceptions of beauty to measures to counter expected rates of recidivism, divination was used to maintain the status quo. Now deemed “unscientific” and “irrational”, the historical use of divination to concretize power is a palpable reminder that ways of thinking and knowledge-making are always suffused with ideology and shaped by the specifics of power. What is considered logical today may be considered irrational tomorrow. Rather than divination as inference, divination was used by governing powers to foreclose a future. Magicians and alchemists in imperial courts sanctified the imperial order, arguing that the roles of emperors and queens were written in the stars, written into pools of water, written into landforms and animal bones.

Check out the full essay here!