Coffee Ground Imaginaries

with 4DHD aka Cibelle Cavalli Bastos and Coco Magnusson

Tasseography is a divination and fortune-telling method that

interprets patterns in coffee cups. It is a traditional method found in a

cultural complex that ranges from the Balkans to Bengal which

attempts to scry the present and future of an individual human being.

Patterns and images that form inside the cup within the thick mocha

grounds after drinking the beverage are used to predict a subject's

state of mind. In a time where algorithmic engineering is creating

patterns to predict and materialize global futures, Ehrenstein and

4DHD use the technique of coffee cup fortune telling to create an

alternative viscous AR experience. Based on a 2018 performance by

Ehrenstein, she has repurposed, 4DHD and Ehrenstein have

repurposed Ehrenstein’s older digital avatar into a receptor of cosmic

intelligence from virtual coffee grounds. A psychogeographic stroll

takes the participants on a drift through Berlin, and next year also

Oslo's urban soul along with three banners and stickers activating

three different AR pieces.

The banners activate the AR and create a landscape with animations

of a sage emerging from the coffee grounds, and offering short

readings. Instead of focussing on a singular fortune-telling narrative,

the psychic reads communal, planetary object-subject entanglements

in the coffee grains. The sage sees alternative, collective human

potentiality and bridges gaps between Sufi mysticism and technoanimism.

The episodes have a possible linear reading, but also

function in a non-linear, singular, or circular way. The short readings

given by Ehrenstein's avatar delve around entanglements between

transcending consciousness through mystic Sufism and artificial

general intelligence. They visually reveal oily hyperobjects and weave

together semantics for contemporary psychic, cultural, and economic

relationships with ineffable, emerging properties. The readings are a

conversational collaboration between Ehrenstein’s research on

Sufism and posthumanism and both Bastos and Magnusson’s

practice focusing on counter discourses to dominant narratives in

platform capitalism through the spectrum of digital art in augmented