Since the Cold War, Americans and Russians alike have cultivated a special fascination with the workings and failures of communication. Each has accused the other of media jamming and propaganda, posed competing claims to expression and creativity, and even released mirroring rumors of telepathic connections and interstellar contacts. Technologies for Intuition explores the ways in which people hone techniques to discern and describe channels and contacts, including those that seem weak and failed, or blocked and invisible. Specifically, it explores stagings of communicative “energy” through paranormal experiments in telepathy, drills to build theatrical empathy, and other phenomena. The author examines settings where media and performance professionals encounter neophytes, where insiders mix with foreigners, and where skeptics debate naifs. Moving back and forth across geopolitical borders, the book shows how the phenomena at hand have developed through historical events and relations, in conflict and in conversation. The author suggests that Cold War preoccupations and strategies have marked theoretical models of communication and mediation, even while infusing everyday, practical technologies for intuition.
Alaina Lemon is Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Michigan. Her first book, Between Two Fires: Gypsy Performance and Romani Memory from Pushkin to Post-Socialism, received the Wayne S. Vucinich and Heldt book prizes.