Giorgia Gaia
Independent researcher

Kaos, Kilowatt & Ketamine: Spiritualities and Psychedelics in the Free Tekno Movement.

Following the Second Summer of Love in the late 1980s, rave culture was born in the UK on the notes of acid house and Roland 303. Illegal rave parties started spreading around Europe throughout the 90’s giving birth to a syncretic counter-cultural phenomenon known as ‘teknival’. Drawing from Hakim Bey’s TAZ theory and subversive subcultures, this phenomenon was characterised by ideas of ontological anarchism, freedom from institutionalised and centralised powers, induced chaotic experiences and various levels of alterations of consciousness. Kaos, Kilowatt and Ketamine are central cultural elements of the free tekno scene, and as such played a pivotal role in inducing spiritual experiences in ravers serving the creation of utopian landscapes, where dance culture and social activism merged in a collective dream. Gaia’s extended participant observation as DJ and anthropologist, her interviews with core members of the movements, DJ's and musicians function as inspiration for this talk.

Giorgia Gaia is an independent researcher - with MA degrees in Cultural and Social Anthropology and in Theology and Religious Studies (Spirituality and Esotericism in Western Culture) at the University of Amsterdam. Since her early twenties she has been involved in the underground scene of rave culture, as DJ and cultural producer. Her academic research has focused on subcultures/countercultures, esoteric communities, magic and psychonautic. She spent several years doing participative observation in various cultural and spiritual scenes - such esoteric intentional communities or the worldwide rave scene. Following extensive fieldwork and participant observation, Gaia wrote ‘Damanhur, the Ecology of Spirit'. In 2015 she released a short documentary called ‘Chai, Charas and Changa’. In 2016, Gaia published open source the first historical and anthropological investigation on the cultural phenomenon of Changa, in a text titled 'Changa's Alchemy'. Being herself continuously involved in the creation of alter(n)ate realities & practical magickal experimentations, she has been party/event organizer and DJ since 2008. In 2018 she founded Occulture Conference, an important cultural event happening yearly in Berlin, which explores the occult and esoteric realities.