Take a Trip to The Psychedelic Video Museum

Looking for a way to celebrate Bicycle Day, the 77th anniversary of the discovery of LSD, while quarantined at home?

The Psychedelic Video Museum has some ideas for you (other than the obvious).

What actually makes a video psychedelic enough to include in an online museum dedicated to that purpose?

Ido Hartogsohn, the organizer  behind the Psychedelic Video Museum, explains their approach this way, “We view psychedelic videos as a mindstate-dependent form of art. It’s important to get to a certain mood in order to fully appreciate these videos. We don’t tell people how to get there. Drug laws are obviously different from place to place, and some people can get there through meditation or other means, but definitely there is a strong connection between this art form and the psychedelic experience.”

Hartogsohn, an assistant professor at the Graduate Program in Science, Technology, and Society Studies at Bar Ilan University, has been a cultural entrepreneur of psychedelia for over a decade. He organized Israel’s first psychedelic conference and founded its first psychedelic magazine, Lapsychonaut.

The Psychedelic Video Museum  is the culmination of ten years of activity on the Daily Psychedelic Video website, a group blog dedicated to the exploration of psychedelic aesthetics and creativity. Run by Hartogsohn and an international team of curators, this month marks the Daily’s 10th anniversary.  The site is the web’s largest collection of psychedelic videos, with nearly 4,000 posts linking to favorites and rarities on YouTube, Vimeo, and elsewhere, and is a global hub for trippy enthusiasts.

On the museum site  you’ll find 700 videos that have been carefully selected  from the Daily and thematically organized into 45 virtual exhibitions for easy browsing.  Much like in a physical museum, the viewer is guided by expert curation into a deep encounter with a specialized topic. These collections  vary from Psychedelic Cinema, to Sixties Psychedelia, to Psychedelic Activism, and much more.

The museum officially opens on April 19, Bicycle Day, with a global online event of video screenings, performances, and lectures, that, according to the announcement, will “move between different meridian spots around the globe where our allies will sing songs, make blessings, recite incantations and lead powerful magick ceremonies to consecrate the new creation.”

Hartogsohn said in an email, “We’ve had some thoughts of delaying the launch because of the corona pandemic. However, we came to realize that this is needed now more than ever. People keep talking about the need for virtual museums at this time, but in many cases these virtual museums are only faded versions of their physical selves. Digital JPG’s of 19th century oil paintings. The Psychedelic Video Museum is native to the virtual terrain. It was designed to be virtual, and you don’t lose any fidelity by visiting it online.”

Among the highlights in the South American collection is a video of  Jardines ft. Lido Pimienta singing “Chancha Via Circuito” while navigating an illustrated jungle scene complete with dragonflies, flowers, and other vibrant  shapes and symbols.

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The Psychedelic Cinema collection also includes the trailer for Alejandro Jodorowsky’s classic 1973 movie, The Holy Mountain, which condenses some of the most striking and mind altering images of the full length film into a wild ride of about 2 and ½ minutes.

The music video for Fanfarlo’s “Cell Song” in the Collage Video collection  is a kaleidoscopic animated collage of found images from dusty science journals, encyclopaedias and magazines.

The museum adds a cultural tilt to this moment of renewed interest in the therapeutic potential of psychedelics, at a time when most of us are self-quarantined. The curators hope that viewers can find solace through their exploration of the museum.

Image from The Claypool Lennon Delirium – Blood And Rockets: Movement I, Saga of Jack Parsons, from the 2019 Album South of Reality, Collage Psychedelia at The Daily Psychedelic Video Museum

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