The Museum of Consciousness X Theory Underground @ Oxford University

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Welcome to the Museum of Consciousness X Theory Underground

The Museum challenges artists to produce a reliable and measurable Altered State of Consciousness in a live audience, using only sound. 

After eight sold out shows across the world, and multiple festival cameos, the Museum of Consciousness is teaming up with Theory Underground to explore the ‘Consciousness of Timenergy’. This intimate and cutting-edge exhibition will be hosted at Oxford University on Saturday 25th May from 2pm to 7pm.

Event description: Despite what clocks and calendars might tell us, all time is not created equal. Setting aside useful abstractions, this event aims to consider ways in which our consciousness of time shows that it is intimately related to energy. Time-without-energy is useless for much more than sleep. Energy-without-reliable and large blocks of repeatable time hinders us from discovering and developing our talents. "Timenergy" signifies large, energy-infused, repeatable blocks of time reliably afforded throughout one's life. In a job-centric society it gets reduced to nothing more than labor-power. We live our whole lives as though the months and years are created equal, but childhood and old age show us that different times, or different energies, necessarily impact how we relate to timenergy. Join us to hear five philosophers present on the consciousness of timenergy. These transmissions are a part of the Theory Underground book tour for the book Timenergy: Why You Have No Time or Energy. The Theory Underground tour crew is joined by EU locals Cadell Last and Carl Hayden Smith. We will also have a musical interlude provided by Mikrokosmos.

Promo video: 

Theory Underground:


The five featured philosophers at Oxford University include: 

1.) David McKerracher 

2.)  Ann Snelgrove-McKerracher

3.)  Bryce Nance

4.) Cadell Last 

5.) Carl Hayden Smith



David McKerracher 

David McKerracher 

Title:  Consciousness of Timenergy 

This transmission will take the listening audience through a series of thought experiments and exercises on the consciousness of time and energy. These will show the priority we normally give to lived time, as opposed to the rigid, linear, and infinite form of time often assumed. Time is not all created equal, because its quality is intimately dependent on energy. For example, consider the difference between exhausted time and energized time. This opens the ability to think about timenergy, which is prior to the job-centric separation of time from energy in our practical lives. Timenergy is large, energy infused, repeatable blocks of time reliably available socially, i.e. between individuals. Consciousness of timenergy, as opposed to mere time, will prove essential for distinguishing between what one does or does not have control over. By doing this, we are better empowered to make strategic decisions about our approach to both time and energy. More importantly, perhaps, is how timenergy theory calls into question most of the values prioritized by today's politics. 

David McKerracher (M.A.) is the organizer for, and founder of, Theory Underground, a teaching, research, and publishing platform by and for dropout workers with earbuds and burnt out post-grads who want to understand The Situation as a means towards figuring out the conditions of possibility for The Good Life. McKerracher’s background is in critical theory, political philosophy, existentialism and phenomenology. All of McKerracher's work revolves around a single question: What is the Good Life? McKerracher's questioning into the conditions of possibility for living The Good Life led him to an M.A. thesis on “Timenergy, the existential basis of labor power.” This work draws heavily from Marx and Heidegger. McKerracher developed this concept further in his first book called Waypoint: Timenergy, Critical Media Theory, and Social Change, and his second book simply titled Timenergy: Why You Have No Time or Energy. Because “Timenergy Theory” requires a more robust theory of libidinal economy and ideology, McKerracher has spent the last few years learning Žižekian and Lacanian theory of ideology from his compatriot Michael Downs. Theory Underground is McKerracher’s vehicle for cultivating the kind of research and conservation necessary to take this project to the next level, the long-term goal of which is to overcome the current culture war deadlocks by inquiry into their conditions of possibility. The goal of this work is to pave a way forward for humanity to maintain the conditions of a robust cultural plurality, harness automation-for-all, and ultimately, explore the universe.


Ann Snelgrove-McKerracher

Ann Snelgrove-McKerracher

Title: The Solitude and Solicitude Crisis

Description:We are living through a crisis of solitude and solicitude (meaning we don’t have any). This transmission will draw from the work of Sherry Turkle’s Reclaiming Conversation to present for the listening audience a way of thinking about how genuine being with others (solicitude) is dependent upon genuine being with oneself (solitude). This is what Turkle calls The Virtuous Circle. The Virtuous Circle is jeopardized by our age of distraction, which is largely brought on by the attention economy as a way of keeping us entertained while neoliberalism burns the world beneath our feet. Almost every aspect of the now global hyper-capitalist and job-centric American culture collapses timenergy in its reduction to labor power. By introducing the concept of The Virtuous Circle we will have a strong basis to understand how timenergy is crucial to founding and maintaining meaningful relationships with others and ourselves. How is Big Tech, neoliberal education, and the hope of the American Dream robbing us of our ability to connect and live meaningful lives? Lets talk about it. 

Ann Snelgrove-McKerracher's background is in social science research. Snelgrove-McKerracher studied the neoliberalization of higher education at Boise State University, where she now teaches. Snelgrove-McKerracher developed and has taught a course on the related topic, "Is College Worth It?" The question that has driven all of her research, as well as her past political activity, has always been, "What is the Good Life?" At Theory Underground, Snelgrove-McKerracher is a co-instructor for The Idea of the University, Digital Literacy and CMT (Critical Media Theory), and Critical Doxology and Timenergy (CDT). When not doing theory related research, she can be found traveling the world with her husband David McKerracher, learning languages, reading novels, baking, hiking, and participating in local theater.


Bryce Nance


Title: Lost Time 

Description: We live in the future. We have our flying cars and robot butlers and fabricator units, they’re all just a little difficult to recognize, because we were promised that all these things would be made freely available to all of us in a post-scarcity, post-strife utopia. The thing is, those things were never going to be available to the masses, they were always to be reserved for those with “the right stuff.” So, this is the future, huh? Is there no alternative? We seem to be set on a course that ends in disaster, at least for the overwhelming majority of us, and most people seem to be content with speeding us all on our way to ultimate doom and destruction, even if they tell themselves they’re doing otherwise. I believe there is an alternative, a future in which something human indeed not only makes it out but in fact thrives and flourishes, but I believe we must radically reimagine what it means to be an individual in today’s world, a political subject, a member of a family, a person with an ultimate telos that can only be incorporated into the bigger picture once that person has had the space, and time(nergy), to culminate their virtual potential. Join me as I maunder and wonder about how our collective lack of Timenergy is the only thing keeping our robots and fabricators out of our hands!

Nance would've been just another disgruntled denizen of the internet, were it not for the decade spent trying to take his education seriously in order to build himself into a subject with something to contribute to the conversations about The Situation; a decade that led him to the conclusion that a project such as Theory Underground was the only path forward for people such as himself. He has been, and is, many things in this life. From homeless teenage punk rocker to young father holding down multiple jobs while attending (and quickly leaving) university on an academic scholarship, to American soldier in Iraq, to corrections officer and eventually mental health care provider to incarcerated and adjudicated youth, to truck driver, to gig worker, and many things in between. Aside from being published alongside some of biggest names in contemporary theory, and the brightest stars in the underground theory scene, in Underground Theory: Coming To A City Near You (and touring the world in support of the anthology’s release), and Nollie Dolphin Flips,Nance doesn’t have any accomplishments he feels like talking about, but he is immensely grateful for all of your attention!


Cadell Last

Cadell Last

Title: Creativity and the Problems of Self-Differentiation

Description: Timenergy may represent a first principle for a new political landscape that frees the human being from necessary labour.  But if a new politics opens a new general relation to timenergy, the human species will not be welcomed into a utopian positivity, but rather confronted with a new set of higher order problems and tensions.  In this presentation, I attempt to outline some of the problems and tensions that may characterise a human species with a new relation to timenergy, with a specific focus on creativity and self-differentiation.  While most human beings throughout history were preoccupied with necessary labour, a human species in control of its timenergy will be forced to confront problems and tensions of creativity and self-differentiation.  Moreover, these issues of creativity and self-differentiation may represent the pinnacle of problematics and tensions that have characterised modern and postmodern philosophical thought, and thus may point towards a fertile zone for future thinking on what it means to embed philosophy in actual historical processes.  

Biography: Creator and Founder of Philosophy Portal, an online education platform focused on teaching the foundational philosophical discourses of the modern world, and creating new online and physical event spaces where philosophy can happen, become actual.  He is also the author of Global Brain Singularity, a book introducing a theory of human evolution inclusive of technological singularity; and Systems and Subjects, a book seeking to open a conversation between general systems science and continental philosophy. 



Carl Hayden Smith  

Carl Hayden Smith

Title: It is All For You and None of it is Yours

Description: This talk will explore whether structured journaling can be used as a tool for managing our own "timenergy". Can the application of journaling as a structured exercise help to not only plan and reflect upon life as it happens but also allow us to act with intention and purpose? The practice employs a multi-modal journaling framework integrating digital documents, multimedia (pictures, videos, and audio), and analogue notebooks to capture various dimensions of personal experience—actions, emotions, and thoughts. This method aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of a life and thought processes over time. This structured approach to journaling provides many benefits, including a pragmatic and effective method to actively participate in your own life's narrative, fostering a sense of coherence and continuity in personal development, enhancing decision-making capabilities, and gaining wisdom from experiences by achieving a higher order perspective on life. Providing a structured way to reflect on past actions and future intentions helps us leverage our historical and philosophical insights and ultimately optimise the interplay between our time and energy. Can this technique lead us towards Eudaimonia—the state of human flourishing and living well? 

Biography: Carl Hayden Smith is Associate Professor of Media in the School of Arts & Creative Industries at UEL and is the former Head of Research and Director of the Learning Technology Research Centre (LTRC) at the Institute for Creativity & Technology, Ravensbourne University, London. Raising over £10 million in research funding, he has led numerous teams on large-scale international projects, including Erasmus+, FP7, Horizon 2020, Innovate UK and the XPRIZE. He has 30 years' experience conducting R+D into the application of hybrid technologies for perceptual, cognitive, and creative transformation. His research focuses broadly on the relationship between technology and the human condition. Carl is developing ‘Hyperhumanism’ which reframes technology as a catalyst for developing our own innate human abilities. His other research interests include Embodied Cognition, Spatial Literacy, Context Engineering, Umwelt Hacking, Natural Media, Sensory Augmentation, Extended Senses and Embodiment. His additional projects include AR4EU (Code Reality), Hobs Academy, and Holotechnica. He is also co-founder of the Cyberdelics Society and founder of the Museum of Consciousness based at Oxford University. His key industry partners include Microsoft, Epic Games, Unity, Hanson Robotics and his key academic partners include Oxford and Imperial. He has given over 300 public lectures, conference presentations, and keynotes across 60 countries and published more than 50 academic papers.  


Musical Interlude: Mikrokosmos



Mikrokosmos is an ongoing collaboration between musicians Salvatore Schiano and Owen Cox. At its core a guitar duo, our name is taken from Bela Bartok’s Mikrokosmos, a suite of piano music evocative of a world of experience in minimalist form. The music we will was composed recently in Naples in the shadows of mount Vesuvius, in a 17th century house 100 metres from the ancient Roman ruins of Herculaneum. Composed using less common time signatures and polyrhythms, it reflects a world where time zones increasingly collide, producing strange and beautiful disruptions.


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