Friday, June 12, 2009

art, theology and worship: Pentecost 09

An www.friend emailed me this link, a video explanation by an artist of a recent large scale Pentecost art installation.

I find it fascinating as follows:
1. The way it weaves art into church practice, particularly in preaching, including the art installation explained, the use of interactivity, the role of imaginative storytelling. Great work.

2. As an example of using art in large scale gatherings (a conference of hundreds of people). i love the way that this is participative and interactive, ie people given colour cards and invited to sit on seats, because most art comes complete with a sign “please don’t touch”, and thus reduces art to eyes only, rather than a five sensory experience. Having said that, I’d like to see more mess. Sitting on a chair is pretty sterile. I’d like to see people invited to paint prayers of thanks on the chairs of the “other”, to place their palm print on chairs as signs of “Spirit-led” discipleship. Stuff that allows much more messy engagement!

3. The way that art still needs to consider Biblical accuracy. One of the premises of the art piece is that in Acts 2, the people in Jerusalem were other ie different and that difference was in the fact they were enemies. That’s not how I read the presence of Parthians, Medes, Elamites in Acts 2:9. Since it was a major Jewish festival, they were most likely God-fearing pilgrims. They had travelled hundreds of miles to be present at this major feast. So they were other, different in terms of ethnicity and language, rather than enemies. So the art explanation is certainly right in it’s basic premise, the need to make space to hear God through people different than us, but it could have got there simply on the basis of language and culture.

Posted by steve at 06:07 PM

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