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HOLY SPACES By Liam Richards


“Religion, is not only a social creation, but it is in fact society divinized” Emile Durkheim stated in his book The Sociology of Religion that “the deities which men worship together are only projections of the power of society. Religion is eminently social: it occurs in a social context, and, more importantly, when men celebrate sacred things, they unwittingly celebrate the power of their society. This power so transcends their own existence that they have to give it sacred significance in order to visualize it.” Holy Spaces was initiated in response to Michael Wolfs photo project “Earth Gods” Questioning the quality of life in big cities such as Hong Kong Wolf examines the basic objects consumed by every home (cooker, calendar, tv, altar) Hidden in niches and cracks “indifferent and unloved by many” their motive is not to persuade, simply their presence is effective enough. A graphic language of color, composition and sometimes text which seems to be able to speak for all religions at once. It is the low quality


of their production which is intriguing. Made of cheap consumer materials rather than gold, marble or glass. Wolfs photography highlights the relationship with the shrine and its surroundings be it shop windows or street furniture In the Desmond Morris book titled MANWATCHING he comments on Religious Displays as “actions performed to placate imagined deities. Worship is a submissive act, performed for dominant individuals called gods ...what is peculiar however is that these individuals are never present in person and are instead represented by images and relics” These images, objects and spaces are not therefore given power by any mystical force, but through the belief and investment of its audience. In an interview with artist Margaret Kilgallen she spoke about the difficulty that the public sometimes has seeing the gestural beauty of handmade works such as graffiti by relating it to advertising “The barrage of images and ads we see everyday. Its everywhere and it doesn’t


bother anybody, we block it out but its not seen as ugly or garbage... But maybe the public sees graffiti like that. Billboards and commercials on TV there are millions of them, Isn’t that garbage? Thats like mind garbage, but it’s become a part of their world view. Once it’s explained like that people start to understand why other people might want to put their own visuals in their neighborhood” Kilgallen mentions that we block out advertising but with the addition of her later statement about billboards and commercials becoming a part of a world view, the effects of the mind garbage which she is talking about start to become more apparent. The very presence of advertising, whether we allow it our attention or not, effects us on a subconscious level. Our submissive attitude towards this invasion of public space by commercial imagery not only confirms Durkheims earlier conclusions but also suggests that this is an issue which continues to effect contemporary society and deserves investigation.


Issue 1: HOLY SPACES  

Introduced by a short essay HOLY SPACES is a publication which documents a series of small shrines created in order to locate the visual lan...

Issue 1: HOLY SPACES  

Introduced by a short essay HOLY SPACES is a publication which documents a series of small shrines created in order to locate the visual lan...

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