Michael Stevenson – Profiles in Serene Velocity. Book I: Cultural Dope


Cultural Dope is the first book of Michael Stevenson's Profiles in Serene Velocity (schematic class notes for MC510/CS183) and draws on records of two protagonists' classroom material:

John Wimber – musician, evangelist, educationalist, author, and founder of Vineyard International Ministries, a global neocharismatic church brand – taught as adjunct instructor at the School of World Missions (Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California). The course, MC510 Signs & Wonders and Church Growth, took place over four winter semesters beginning in 1982 and drew on Wimber’s church-growth expertise in relation to faith healing and Kingdom Theology. MC510 is best known for practical sessions, dubbed 'clinic time', where healings and exorcisms were performed by and on class members. 

Peter Thiel – billionaire, entrepreneur, venture capitalist, public intellectual, philanthropist, author, co-founder of PayPal, Palantir Technologies, Founders Fund, and Facebook angel investor – taught as adjunct staff in the Computer Science Department at Stanford University, California. The course, CS183 Startup took place over a single semester in 2012 and drew on Thiel’s expertise in diagnosing the post-2008 business cycle in relation to technology, globalisation and the forward challenge of founding the next successful (undiscovered) 21st century company.

These voices are accompanied by a chorus of student voices from various colleges and high schools in New Zealand’s Taranaki region including Inglewood High School, and punctuated with excerpts from Lucy A. Suchman’s Plans and Situated Actions, the problem of human machine communication, published by Xerox at the Palo Alto Research Centre, 1985.

Cultural Dope is published on the occasion of the exhibition Serene Velocity in Practice MC510/CS183 at Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne (22 May–6 July 2019), curated by Natasha Conland, Curator Contemporary Art, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. Three books will come together as Profiles in Serene Velocity (with Witte de With, Rotterdam; and KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin), published by Sternberg Press in 2021.

119 pages, softcover, 32 x 25.1 cm, Monash University Museum of Art (Melbourne)