Holotechnica: Altered States And Traits

Holotechnica: Altered States And Traits
Holotechnica and Technomancy with Carl Hayden Smith.

The word technomancy is a neologism constructed from techno (Greek τέχνη, tékhnē, “skill, art, craft”), meaning “relating to technology,” and mancy (Greek μαντεία, manteía, “divination”), denoting “a form of divination.” Similarly, the term holotechnica, refers to holo (to combine into the whole) and technica (technique). When practising technomagic we don’t create content but rather, we create context. Technomagic provides us with new abilities, control over our senses and the ability to develop new forms of perception, allowing for a new type of self and societal exploration.

Carl Hayden Smith is co-founder of the Cyberdelics Society and the London Experimental Psychonautic Club. He is also the Director of the Learning Technology Research Centre (LTRC) and Principal Research Fellow at the Institute for Creativity & Technology, Ravensbourne University London. He is focused on using technological and biological means to alter, probe and study the spectral nature of consciousness. Carl has been a participant on a DMT study at Imperial College London for the last 6 years, most recently on the DMTx phase of the study. His research also explores the combination of “functional sound” with the application of psychedelics.

Raising over £10 million in research funding, Carl has worked on numerous large-scale projects including Leonardo LifeLong Learning, Erasmus+, FP7, Horizon 2020 projects, the XPRIZE, and the Holotechnica.Academy. He has given over 300 invited public lectures, conference presentations and keynotes in 40 countries and published more than 100 academic papers. His research interests also include Contextology (Context Engineering), Embodied Cognition, Spatial Literacy, Umwelt Hacking and Sensory Augmentation.


The Nexus of Altered-States

Holotechnica consists of a database of different consciousness-expanding techniques, meditations, and protocols that can be combined in a form of dialogos. Carl’s research investigates questions such as – how can we combine these different ingredients into experience stacks in order to create a reliable cookery book for exploration? And how do we create altered states and altered traits by stacking Endo-technologies with Cyberdelics and Pharmaco-technologies?

1) Endo-technologies refer to: Breathwork, Sound, Trance States, Hypnosis, Hypnopompic and Hypnagogic States, Dreaming (individual and collective), Near Death Experiences, Out of Body Experiences, Visualisation and practices from various meditative and Yogic Traditions.

2) Cyberdelics refer to: Sound, Light Machines, AI-Generated Experiences, Neurofeedback, Biofeedback, Binaural Beats and Brainwave Entrainment, VR/AR/XR, Chi machines, Sound Baths, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), and Mindfulness Apps.

3) Pharmaco-technologies refer to: Psychedelics, Arylcyclohexamines , Entheogens, Psychoplastogens / Pseudodelics.

Creating perceptual changes that allow us to design our own reality should be, by definition, empowering. However, giving us the chance to change our consciousness as easily as we change the channels on our TV, could change everything. The mission is to focus on the appropriate preparation and integration necessary for altered traits, rather than the never-ending search for altered states.


The Museum of Consciousness

Carl is the founder of The Museum of Consciousness and frequently runs interactive talks and events. This groundless grassroots space exhibits work by a multitude of artists and explorers who are keen to transmit their work through short, audio-based samples designed to create expansive experiences. Their past exhibition at Burning Man in 2020 included thought experiments, sound journeys, death cafés, as well as sleep and dream incubations.

Carl’s talks often consist of an academic component along with a sound-based meditation session. The multimodal nature of his work encourages participation while drawing attention to how meaning is made through the combined use of semiotic resources such as gesture, speech, face expression, body movement and proxemics, imagery, objects, sound, writing, colour, layout, and the built environment.

He has previously used such techniques to explore the relationship between multimodality and Human Computer Interaction (HCI), bringing Contextology, Double Consciousness and Holotechica into the discussion to establish to what extent these domains can help us evolve or critique the field. He has also discussed the possibility that the use of multimodality actually reduces the activation of the imagination and therefore co-creativity.

1) Contextology is the study of context or the science of Context Engineering (CE). CE focuses less on engineering content and instead attempts to manipulate and create context directly. This is achieved when we are empowered (via CE tools) to reconfigure our own perspective and cognitive abilities directly. We can now adopt radically different visual or auditory systems or spend time out of body to achieve novel cognitive and creative insights. CE gives us greater control over our senses and a corresponding ability to develop new forms of sensory perception.

2) Double Consciousness (DC) is a framework which is being developed through a number of emerging application areas, including: i) Living in Virtual Reality, ii) Dream Hacking and iii) DMTx Technology. What are the opportunities that these areas offer? What are the corresponding challenges? Can adopting these forms of DC help us to see ourselves from other perspectives? How will DC technology change the experience of reality for individuals, for groups and for society? What are the ethics of these DC technologies? What are the limits of DC and how can a literacy of Pluralism help?

3) Holotechnica seeks to combine techniques in order to create the desired experience stack. How can we combine different techniques (ingredients) into experience stacks in order to create reliable protocols for perceptual augmentation? How will these ingredients affect each other in the stack, and what new qualia will these synergies create?

Carl’s work claims that technomancers can develop innovative solutions to modern challenges and foster deeper connections with others. Neuromancy offers a powerful toolkit for personal development; by understanding and manipulating thought processes and patterns, neuromancers can unlock potential and facilitate transformative experiences. Just as technomancy lies within the realms of technology, neuromancy lies within the realms of neural plasticity. As we continue to explore the frameworks of each of these areas, researchers such as Carl hope to discover a wealth of insights and breakthroughs that will shape the future of human potential, communication and exploration.