We asked Arthur Fournier to tell us about his investigations into the counterculture of the late 60’s and 70’s which gave rise to three techno-culture magazines; High Frontiers, which then changed its name to Reality Hackers and then Mondo 2000.
These zines created content to raise awareness of consciousness expanding practices, using technology for limitless possibilities, being sexy and healthy nerds, as well as infusing new energy into society, plus more.
Could you tell us about these publications you're going to showcase at PS-1 this year?
Arthur: One of the magazines that I am going to be showing at PS-1 is called High Frontiers, which then went on to become Reality Hackers magazine, and then morphed into the national magazine called Mondo 2000. Ken Goffman was the founding editor, and at the time he called himself R.U. Sirius.
High Frontiers only kept its original name for the first three issues. It is a magazine I’m fascinated with because as far back as 1984 this magazine looked at the future of computing and how it could change consciousness. This came out of a particular scene in the Bay Area – in California – where early computer programmers were mixing with the remnants from the counterculture of the 1960’s, experimenting with LSD and other hallucinogens. From the beginning, this was what you might call a cyber punk aesthetic or a mixture between the consciousness expanding realm of the psychedelic underground and the emergence of the Internet.
If you look at the cover of Reality Hackers magazine, the subtitle says it all: “Information technologies and entertainment for those who are on the brink.” But then they really spell it out for the reader with an article called “ “what are the reality hackers doing?” Well, they tell you: 1. Reality Hackers are using technology for life beyond limits; 2. Expanding the limits of the human brain, mind, nervous systems and senses; 3. Blurring the distinction between science fiction and reality; 4. Making big bureaucracy impossible; 5. Entertaining any notion using what works; 6. Infusing new energy into postmodern culture; 7. Using hardcore anthropology to understand human evolution; 8. Using media to send out mutational memes through viruses and thought viruses; 9. Blurring the distinction between high technology and magic; and 10. Replacing nerd mythology with sexy, healthy, aesthetic techno magicians of both genders.
What I think is incredible about this is in early 80’s and 90’s you had people kind of dreaming of the culture we more or less live in now, but at the time they were considered psychedelic warriors and magicians.