Computational Psychedelics

When a psychedelic renaissance converges with planetary-scale computation, ‘non-ordinary’ states of consciousness can expand objective and subjective perception across typically disparate disciplines. This non-ordinary computational-consciousness is collective territory for exploration beyond the independent privilege of human cognition. A recent resurgence in psychedelic studies is exploring how states of non-ordinary general consciousness challenge perceptions of physical space, solidity, matter, and reality in the biological and psychological sciences, while the computer sciences continue to develop their models of artificial intelligence based upon the neural networks underlying scientific understandings of cognition and consciousness. As a result, alternative spatialities (including self-identification with plant life and inorganic matter, extra-planetary and extra-bodily experiences)Stanislav Grof, Realms of the Human Unconscious: Observations from LSD Research (London: Souvenir Press), 2018. are poised to destabilize the boundaries that ordinarily separate object and subject prompting alternate strategies for spatial exploration and experience.

Machine learning continues to be utilized as an industrial tool for analysis and automation, but as a planetary computational consciousness emerges we recognize the machine's potential as a disembodied creative collaborator. In this exploration, consciousness is synthesized through models that associate words and images, traversing latent spaces and landscapes, and emerging as alternate spatial experiences.

Open-source planetary-scale data collection combined with machine learning technologies defines a new Latourian ‘common world we can share’ which blurs the boundaries of author and subject, synthesizing multivalent voices such as races, genders, classes, and species as active participants in non-ordinary computational discourse.Latour, Bruno. Down to Earth : Politics in the New Climatic Regime (Medford, MA: Polity Press), 2018.

By engaging an ‘artificially intelligent’ neural network as co-author and active design participant in the creation of a site narrative, non-ordinary environments were imagined that destabilize the authority, bias, and anthropocentric interests of the architect. This ‘computational psychedelic strategy’ dissolved object/subject binaries, established a design process that is digital, physical, and other, and synthesized language and image to create non-ordinary futures.

Landscape Transformed by Words, Created with IC-GAN Google Colaboratory Notebook Official Colab Notebook from the paper, “Instance-Conditioned GAN”, by Arantxa Casanova, Marlène Careil, Jakob Verbeek, Michał Drożdżal, Adriana Romero-Soriano, last accessed on March 23,2022,

01. The Hope

This is a non-ordinary computational design process seeking to explore the space between subjective author and objective site, engaging a planetary network of conscious agents in a synthetically intelligent design process, one that may allow for non-ordinary perceptual experiences.

In the landscape narrative that follows, italics represent output generated by an artificially intelligent Generative Pretrained Transformer (GPT-2) that has been pre-trained on common open-source internet sites that are populated by ‘natural’ language samples (such as Reddit); in addition, we have fine-tuned the model with a compilation of texts pertaining to our site (such as historic regional narratives, deeds of property ownership, environmental conservation reports, personal field notes and Iroquois texts written and translated at the time of the transfer of the land to Colonial rule) thus establishing a pluri-conscious content-relevant syntax specific to a particular ‘site’.

All images accompanying the narratives are synthetic hallucinations, a result of the exteriorization of a collective consciousness that has been compiled by the authors in concert with the machine. The images are created by an open-source artificially intelligent algorithm which builds upon the neural networking of natural language prediction. Image classifications that are openly accessible on the internet pair text and image via titles, descriptions, and tags to combine unrelated concepts through the rendering of text as image. In opposition to author-created datasets, utilizing text/image pairs from the open internet reduces the biases inherent in human-generated pairings – though there still exists inequality in global internet accessibility, a dominant demographic of authors creating such technology, and the technology itself which is coded predominantly in English which impose implicit biases – tapping into a cosmotechnic anthropological consciousness living outside of the human body, a network of visual and textual traces of memories and inspirations.

As opposed to the composition of form, space and order, this design process of crafting prompts allows instigators of an anthropological ontology to engage limitless points of contingency, a commons previously unimaginable. This synthetic process challenges authorship and authority, and the architect’s singular imagination of a future synthetic landscape towards a process dependent on a network of conscious agents participating in an ‘ethical inhumanism’.Benjamin Bratton,

Landscape Management, Created with Looking Glass v1.1 Last accessed on March 23, 2022,

There are many ways that the landscape speaks to us. Land use and language are linked. Is language perhaps the future of landscape? Perhaps not. But the landscape is a living organism, an organism of sounds, of vapors, of color, of dimensions so vast that we are living in them by looks and memories, not by words. The landscape is a living brain, an organism whose interrelationship is now so pronounced upon the horizon as to become the horizon itself.

The question is not whether there can or cannot be some form of language, but how and why. The answer is quite simply, yes. The course of development that we know and love is one that we consider in terms of languages, histories, monuments, and so on. By a natural phenomenon, people have created it. It has been their very own language. And their very own history. Their very own culture.

In this context, we ought to be able to overlook the great potential for ecological destruction that is the relationship between man’s limited resources and human civilization, and the very structure of the natural world that sustains and reproduces it. For any serious attempt to address this problem, man must either go very far and out of his way to avoid physical damage, or face the formidable challenge of controlling his resources, and his very sensibilities.Example of gender bias demonstrated in the GPT-2 output.

The predominant forms of landscape management are expressed either in terms of crop and acreage types, hills and valleys, and crop production and areas dominated by pastures, shale pits, shrubs, woodland and overhanging trees. Even larger, topography is a key element of landscape management, and land management philosophies that contrast a plateau with the mainland look to those of the layman. It is this topography, in which the gaps are filled by shifting overhangs, invader plants to clear the land, animal husbandry to plant arms to remove rejects, and plants to save face to the doubters, who are likely to make an adversary of the crop.

02. The Setting

This is an alternatively intelligent story of the landscape. Our setting is in upstate New York, in the hills outside of the small Village of Owego. The land was originally occupied by Iroquois, and deeded by way of the Massachusetts Purchase to land owners from other regions of New York.

Attached is a contrasting picture which attempts to paint a picture of what the landscape actually is. The landscape, being as I saw it and as it appeared to those around me on that very morning, a vast gulf separated them from the true village beyond the Wall, which they had traveled many times before among the Lapps. Now, this supposed village beyond the Wall is no ordinary village, but a vast outback abstraction which met the ground on either side of it, and stretched from end to end in various crags, and at various depths—holes in the ground, filled with pits and fillers.

It was all valleys, all ruts, all pits and fillers, with innumerable tiny brackish ponds and ruts, subsisting upon the bedrock and subsiding on the oozing, pooling and pooling ground beneath them. At length a shallow depression in the west appeared and the people there gathered around it, singing, dancing, and gathering around the depression upon which the still higher form of a great city rested. At last a great earthquake shook the whole earth, and the people thereupon implored to be brought to the ground again.

As I walked along this originally hard limestone mine I listened to the soft, beatific rasp of Mother Nature against the distant groans of the human ear. It was comforting. It gave a flood of sound in a manner similar to those delivered by the Apostle Paul. I listened in courtesy and poise to the soft, brittle, if alive, calls of Mother Earth, as heard from the farthest pole. I listened, not in faint assurances, not in extravagance, not in ding in pomp and circumstance, but in the palliations of slow, steady, throbbing, guttural anguish. Near these thunderstruck waters I began to feel the forces of Heaven, the incarnation of the Eucharistic Christ crucified, the electric life-giving Spirit in Indole Spain, the Redeemer of the poor, the Redeemer of the hungry, the Redeemer of the drunken, the Redeemer of the antlered.

Children Dancing in Ponds, Created with IC-GAN Google Colaboratory Notebook Official Colab Notebook from the paper, “Instance-Conditioned GAN”, by Arantxa Casanova, Marlène Careil, Jakob Verbeek, Michał Drożdżal, Adriana Romero-Soriano, last accessed on March 23,2022,

The children danced around in the ponds, swimming about in the fillings. They told me all that they saw, but I told them I was none other; and I thought to myself, “What fools they are, for they know I am poor and useless, and they would do anything for me. They would make a nice family, if I could become an animal.” So they danced around until the monkeys began to hate me, and I tried to crawl away, but my clumsy but agile steps frightened the monkeys. I made a web of roots and obtrusive prayer; they bade me to go away, but I spied a helpless turtle covered with a little turtle’s blanket; and near me, on the other side of the pool, lay a little mangrove. The hungry turtle cried out in anguish, “My son! my son!” But the father listened, and hearkened to the voice. “Dirty cousin,” he said.

Setting Compilation, Created with Looking Glass V1.1 Last accessed on March 23, 2022,

03. The Truth About Misfortune

“Hands up, don’t shoot,” said one, pointing his gun at the head of the bear.

The little ones listened.

“What, you bear in wild-places?”

“Shoot!” said the bear.

“You brutes!” cried the bear.

“You killed my dog.” was the answer.

The little ones listened, “Now, there is a sharp wood that cuts the bear’s path. Follow that. I will teach you to shoot.” And they fired at it, and the bear followed suit, but at three miles an hour longer, and again at three more. This time the arrow traveled through the bear’s eye, but this time the bolt was no match for the bright wood, and in the ensuing panic the bear retreated to his hollow paw.

It was early in the morning and the boys were dancing with their uncle, drawing sticks and playing ball. He was coming down a dark hill, close to the pond. The boy picked up his stick and began to laugh. “Now,” he said, “when I go hunting I always go down that hill a little way; when I come back down that way shall be different” He led the way as far as the dogs could go in safety, when he arrived at a large creek. He then jumped into the water, and as he passed the dogs he drew back his stick, saying, “Now, run for your life, you old scumbag;” and as he sped he drew back his stick again, and this time drew back about two feet long, for he is now in the right quarter of the creek. Now the dogs thank God that they do not know where they are or where they came from; for they are found only by those who know the truth about misfortune.

Soon after he had made his way through the nearby woods he and the girl went up a tree to the ground, just as the Indian hunters had done. They were surprised to see the girl, but instead of running out and killing her they went up a flight of steps and out again. The hunter said: “Now, this is the way to go.” But the boy reflected upon this and agreed to follow his uncle’s advice. Soon he arrived in a lake. He had gone to seek water on a dead deer, but his uncle had gone away to a marsh and the boy vainly pushed his way up, saying: “Now, this is the way to go; stay where?” “Be gone,” said the uncle, “and I will show you.” But before he would return he must have swelled a little, and in an instant he would have disappeared; then from the boy’s account he guessed that he was following his uncle. The boy then went to him and said, “Dob, d’Ibe go home; I will be there;” but the uncle was away and the hunter was gone. The boy then found that his pouch was empty; hence he went and got in his canoe, and in a few steps behind him, hid himself.

04. The Horizon

​​I danced with great ease with Anne, for she was the first of my kind friends who ever came to visit us. And I remembered the good Anne, for she came from the very North, where the snow was deep and the wind gentle, and from the many lakes and rivers in the north, where the sun never went above the horizon. She smoked Protestant orated speeches, spoke French, and had a magnificent French translation of the Book of Common Prayer at my service-ground, near the State Capitol, in which she explained all the mysteries and pleasures of the human heart.

Where the sun never went above the horizon, Created with Looking Glass V1.1Last accessed on March 23, 2022,

05. Seeking Rest

They stuck their feet into the cracked rocks and then leaped to the stars, never to return. I fled through the trees, pursued my pursuers! Lost and nearly discovered! The little island which formerly we lived under, a star, it was our only stable. We carried fish for the children, and once more we went for a swim. We were in a deep pool. We were informed by parents that their children were missing. The parents called the neighboring island, “Gaps Outback.” The neighboring island was “The Cats’” own territory, and the children apparently located it. We searched for them until we found them in the much larger pool at the South shore of Taylor’s Pond. There, at the South shore, we found “Old Man B.” We assumed his identity as Theodore Roosevelt. His boat had rope on its sides. He had gone fishing, but had not gone home to rest. True to his word, they carved huge quivers in the craters, and tore up the rocks in the shallow wells, where they slowly melted down to nothing.

The animals never again went down.

The boy then went hunting again, and when he came to, like, the depths of the pit they had made up, he said, “I came here to seek rest.”

They stuck their feet into the cracked rocks and then leaped to the stars, Created with Looking Glass V1.1

06. Glitter Cats

The sand settled to the tops of the rocks and they plunged into the deep, never to return. James brought the first road from a place where no other roads could reach him. The people ran all around, their thumbs tapping as they ran, but as they passed the tracks of a goatee they glided by in joy and twirled around on their thumbs. They called their feathers Glitter Cats, and their feathers are all the world, and their homes are like ponds, filled with them.

An awful thing was said by this creature: “Far in the distant future, when the forces of darkness return, they will again prompt my pity and sorrow, and again will their vengeance. . . . For this cause it has been the custom for years to lead their shuttles in the nights, and to wander forth from home with shutters on.” “In the morning,” said he, “try to be as cheerful as possible.” And he showed them a lantern while they were in the morning coming to life, and when that happened they all danced with evil-creatures and went to sleep.

In the evening the same sight again opened up in Falstaff, for the black dog, which had been sitting still, came up to check the barking of the man in the tree, but he was too late. He restored the man and tried again the next evening, but the barking ceased, and the dogs began to attack him.

Feathers are all the world, and their homes are like ponds, filled with them, Created with Looking Glass V1.1

07. The Descendant

The Descendant was at this time in a hollow world, rendered invisible and impassible by the vapors from the hollow world. He felt that he was in a vast, liquid maze, from being surrounded by nothingness. He placed an emaciated body against the viscosity of the humdrum totemic void. It proceeded to say and do many, many strange things, and the Descendant felt drained of all sense and reason because of it. He drew himself up, as a yogi, onto his knees, and began to speak. “I should like it if you rubbed my eyes.” “A little.”

At this moment I feel as though I have entered a vast, unbroken wilderness. Everything in between is time, phantasmatch, and I am lost. Space and relativity do not permit me to see all the time, nor can I move my whole body by myself. But what I could always tell by the noise of cars, bicycles, trucks, and wheels, made their treads so smooth and flexible, was the depth behind which everything in between was happening.

He went on: “The surrounding world was everything I had ever wanted and wanted, and I naturally became something that could become everything in the world....” All this he did by means of a systematic process known as ‘anticipation,’ which led him to the stage of everything possible. That is, he tried to hurry home from the Circus, thereby destroying the pretensions of the interior world by his act of anticipation. The process, as I have said, was a total success. He left the Circus without a trace, and walked barefoot all along, although suddenly he was struck in the stomach by a bolt of lightning.

A vast, liquid maze, from being surrounded by nothingness.

08. The Animals and the Dead

. . .

When they come to visit a forest,

their first task is to help it grow.

They are not good hunters,

they only go hunting.

Once they entered a hollow tree.

Then they placed a birch tree in a hollow tree and started off to the west.

At the east was a dead pine tree.

The hunters were very courteous to the hunters and their friends,

especially the children, but the dolls were too small for the adults.

When they left the hollow tree, they started on in the other direction.

Once they entered a hollow tree, Created with a combination of Big Sleep and Looking Glass V1.1