Prayer Antenna Religious Technology Artifact

The Prayer Antenna, a religious technology artifact created by Canadian-born artist Paul Davies, will be on display at BAPLab, an exhibit in Brooklyn, NY on July 22nd.


(Prayer Antenna)

The Prayer Antenna itself was created from a thrift-store motorcycle helmet and a large number of radio or TV antennae. According to the artist:

the helmet works very simply. There are two radio transmitters out in the museum/gallery/whatever and they transmit the ambient sounds (people talking, etc) to the left and right channel of radio recievers hooked up to headphones inside the helmet (so each ear is a distinct source). The interactivity is the simple act of kneeling and putting your head into the helmet. What you hear is other people (what is god if not other people.)"

"People mostly like it and they know right away without any prompting how they are suposed to interact with the sculpture..."

This unusual exhibit (and the premise) reminded me strongly of science fiction author Roger Zelazny's staggeringly original (and Hugo award-winning) 1967 novel Lord of Light. In the novel, space-bourne expatriots recreate the mythological world of pre-Christian Hinduism with technology that can grant powers and make reincarnation work.

One of the great technovelgy items from the story is the Pray Machine, used to bring a great soul back from the Beyond:

Yama tended the pray-machine and the giant metal lotus he had set atop the monastery roof turned in its sockets. For six days he had offered many kilowatts of prayer, but the static kept him from being heard on high.
(Read more about the Pray Machine)
Zelazny's ironic style and the Hindu cultural background make this a story well worth reading.

You might be interested in another related "art technology" project - the SkyEar. While you're at it, go all the way to Religion in Space! Read more about the Prayer Antenna via WMMNA.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 7/15/2006)

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