Sympathetic Magic

Magali Duzant

2018 - 2019

United States

Sympathetic Magic is a body of work collected within an artist book entitled, The Moon and Stars Can Be Yours: Notes on Subway Psychic. The book is a pocket-sized guide to modern mysticism by way of the New York City subway system; a freewheeling investigation into the rise of contemporary spiritualism in an age of uncertainty. Much has been said of millennials, their faults enumerated in countless op-eds, but they are the first group to earn less than the prior generation, the first to confront adulthood under climate crisis, and the rupture of the global economy.

Global crises are often accompanied by a rise in interest of new age beliefs, either as a coping mechanism, a distraction, or as a desire for answers. Sympathetic magic, at its most basic, is material magic, magic that relies on similarity or contact; the perfect magic for an age of dislocation and a world viewed through screens. Mysticism and astrology may not hold the answers but they are a far more inclusive, flexible belief system suited to a generation that may not believe, that knows a scam when they see one, but may also have an urge for some sense of a guide.

These images run the gamut from aura photographs to subway advertisements for psychics, to archival photographs of spiritualist rituals, plumb the visual tropes of a search for answers and comfort in a rapidly changing world.

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