Installation – Encountering Glory

Last weekend I setup an installation in a large auditorium for my church community.  It consisted of multiple eye video works running on different screens, another projected video piece, a sound component and light.  The work is inspired by Ezekiel Ch 1 in the bible.

I worked with light to create an immersive and ambient setting where colour related to the passage of text.  Sound was used to attempt to ignite the imagination or enable the viewer to conjure something altogether other-worldly that would be very difficult to depict visually.  The main video piece was a kind of abstract journey through the passage with imagery linked in-directly to the scenes described.  There were also readings in english and hebrew, speaking, singing and response stations as part of the experience.  The work was well received with many people saying how it brought the passage alive for them; that it was interesting and a different experience from the normal in this context.

While I felt that the work did achieve the intentions for the audience in one sense (to immerse the audience into something of the experience of Ezekiel’s vision), it was also compromised because it was trying to fulfil two different roles or functions; art installation and worship experience.  In the context it was an art installation rather than a worship experience.  In hindsight this was problematic and I perhaps didn’t do either justice.  I was trying to curate a worship experience using a contemporary art installation as the vehicle for this. The audience became more of a viewer rather than an active participant.  There was some degree of participation for the audience via response stations however these were difficult to access for many people due to where they were situated.

I think it could have become more of a worship experience if I had put screens all around the building and had the speaker link his talk more closely to the work.  I would like to try to translate this work into a gallery context in a different format, simplify the content to the eye videos, one of the sounds and light.  It would be interesting to experience it again in an art context.  Much of this work was a learning curve for me in terms of the making as well as curation and execution, it is a start of working on a larger scale with multiple media and definitely something I would like to do more of!.

 

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