In the early 1970s, Timothy Leary began to receive cosmic transmissions in what has become known as the “Starseed” transmissions. At the same time, Robert Anton Wilson found himself in his “Chapel Perilous,” receiving transmissions from somewhere around Sirius. This marked a turn in the thinking of both Leary and Wilson towards cosmic futurism as well as the beginning of their collaboration. This talk wants to explore the implications of the transmissions for their collaboration which they called SMI2LE (Space Migration, Increased Intelligence, Life Extension). This was on one hand a magical project that wanted to use collective will and language to actualise a desired future while it, on the other, can be seen as a forerunner to transhumanism, embracing technology and libertarianism, aiming to create a new type of human through the reception of channelled texts.
Dr. Kasper Opstrup is a writer and researcher based in Copenhagen. The Danish translator of Alexander Trocchi and William Burroughs, among others, he is currently working on a project about Cosmic Futurism while finishing a monograph with the tentative title An Imaginary Kingdom in the Wastelands of the Real: On Art, Esotericism and the Politics of Hope. His most recent books are The Way Out: Invisible Insurrections and Radical Imaginaries in the UK Underground from 1961 to 1991 (Minor Compositions, 2017) and the edited anthology Unexpected Encounters – Possible Futures (Antipyrine, 2019).