Touch sensitive capacitance sensing enabled metal frames decorated with Hindu iconography enclose LCD screens which display digital video recorded from religious and pop music cable-TV channels from India.
Initially a viewer sees and hears religious figures preaching, lecturing, praying and singing.When the viewer/listener reaches (within 2”) and touches a framed LCD display, the video will randomly switch to one of a selection of “Bollywood” music videos.
Touching the Sacred and the Profane
is an interactive touch sensitive work that
recalls the act of touching as a sign of
religious devotion while simultaneously celebrating the possibilities of the emergent global village media remix. By means of
user interaction/intervention Hindu religious streaming broadcasts are remixed, remade
or remediated with “Bollywood” music videos creating a streaming media mash-up
juxtaposing the sacred with the profane.
The spectacle of the global village now
includes webcasts, cable/satellite TV and streaming media that originates from nearly anywhere on the planet. Channels dedicated
to religious content can be instantly juxtaposed with those dedicated to MTV-style music videos. No where else is this juxtaposition of religious belief and/or secular indulgence more evident than in India.
In commenting on his travels to India in
1895/96 Mark Twain (aka Samuel Langhorne Clemens) celebrates India:
"This is India! The land of dreams and romance, of fabulous wealth and fabulous poverty, …..the country of a hundred nations and a hundred tongues, of a thousand
religions and two million gods,…”
He continues “the one land that all men
desire to see, and having seen once, by even a glimpse, would not give that glimpse for all the shows of all the rest of the globe combined.” Today, with its rapidly developing economy, newly emergent middle and upper middle class a visitor can be astonished by
the extremes that hold true even for visitors
a century ago.
This touch sensitive work invites the intervention of the viewer/listener to disrupt, remix & mash-up these global broadcasts creating a “found” digital video experience. “Touching the Sacred and Profane” recalls religious devotion by a “laying of the hands” evocative of the ecstatic. Repeated touching “scratches”, remixes creating a “train wreck” of the secular and sacred, of aesthetic intention and religious conviction.