The Church Intent of Nuit Blanche

My favourite Nuit Blanche exhibit this year – and quite possibly my favourite exhibit of all time from this event – was John Notten‘s Church Intent, a juxtaposition of Christian symbols and camping gear. Click here for a computer generated walkthrough of the exhibit. It doesn’t show all of the smaller works inside of the tent, but it does give a good feel for what it was like to walk through this exhibit.

Normally I weave together a monologue on whatever it is that has piqued my interest at the moment. For many subjects this works well. Art is better understood in conversation though, so this week I will instead be asking questions. Feel free to answer any or all of them (or ignore them entirely if you’ve thought of better things to discuss here!)

What is your favourite work of art? Why did it first capture your attention?

To what extent are our most deeply held beliefs, religious or otherwise, influenced by the culture(s) we live in? How can we puzzle out where one ends and the other begins?

Theists, how have you experienced God in everyday life? Is there a connection between your interests or hobbies and your religious beliefs?

Non-theists (or Agnostics), what, if anything, gives you a sense of wonder about the world?

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0 Responses to The Church Intent of Nuit Blanche

  1. This is the one and probably only reason I would like to live in a city. There are more opportunities for unusual things to see in a bigger city where diversity is embraced.
    Your post is very thought provoking and I will have to put more thought into a response.

    I do believe some of my favorite works of art are any one of the numerous ZiNes I have collected from art swaps. These are small self-published mini magazines (thus the names). they can be on any subject. Most of the ones I have are mixed media within a certain theme. The reason I like them so much is their individuality. I think everyone has something to tell or say and these are works of art filled with voices from around the world. They are uncensored and some of them very raw…but that’s what makes them so interesting! You can find out more about ZiNes by just searching on the web if you aren’t familiar with them. If I had to pick a well-known artist it would definitely be Dale Chihulley…the glass artist. I am amazed at his work and have watched several documentaries of his work in progress and it’s just unbelieveable. I love the color and design of his work.

    I have to ponder the question about a link between my interests or hobbies and my religious beliefs! Interesting to think about…I suppose I first have to decide WHAT my religious beliefs are!! lol

    • I have heard of zines before. They can be so creative and thought-provoking. I used to have a friend who made her own zine, actually. She kept trying to convince me to make my own but I didn’t know what to say. 🙂

  2. first of all, I like your last link to the wiki article on sense of wonder. i hadn’t known it was linked so closely to sci fi. that explains some things about me …

    my favorite work of art, at least as a child, was the drawing i learned to make – i’m sure you know what i’m talking about. my second grade teacher taught us as a class to draw it, back when art class was more learning how to imitate the teacher instead of free flow creativity. it captured me — i remember where i was sitting in the classroom when she showed us. it is 2 hills, a lake, a sunset, an Indian village, a big tree, lots of small flowers. of all the great works of art in this world, why do i think of this? probably for what it symbolizes to me — the natural world, with most of its elements represented, and with humankind represented but in a non-intrusive way. my favorite colors as a kid were blue, green, brown, and hints of yellow, in that order, because that is the order of their prevalence in the natural world that i grew up in.

    my deeply held beliefs about the simple life, the environment, the value that is gained from spending quiet time outdoors … these are all demonstrated in this child’s drawing. it resonated with some in me then, and i also believe that it formed something in me from that time forward. the connection is really uncanny, now that i think about it … which sort of answers your second and third questions. i have no answer for question 4 except to say that they are deeply entwined, more than most of us care to admit.

    i think i’m a theist. at least 90 percent of the time. and i never feel closer to God than when I am outdoors — although that can be outdoors in the middle of a city. just as long as i can see the sky and smell the air and see some growing things, even if it was all put in place by landscapers.

    this is a great post. i love the interactive questions. i think this is group therapy in the virtual world.

    • Yes, I remember that picture. I used to draw it, too, and always wondered what the shore would look like and what other wonders could be found in the distance if we could climb into our pictures and walk between the hills.

  3. When I was a kid I was enthralled with the splatter painting booth where for a quarter you could make your own abstract art by pouring liquid brightly colored paint onto a spinning plate like thing that held your small posterboard. It was just as fun to do tie dye teeshirts and see how they turned out a couple of times when my sisters were into that. I have loved abstract are that is colorful. freeform. smooth,random and lately have enjoyed painting with no water, just the paint straight from the tube it comes in, thus giving volume and smooth to the touch texture once it dries…. Now that was a run on sentence 😉 … Blown glass has the above mentioned characteristics that I love too … an abstract art piece that makes you want to reach out and touch it is my favorite … in regards to religion … well maybe the connection is that it should make you smooth, fluid, fun, and unique and very aproachable and those ideas are the exact opposite of what i experienced in 20 plus years of professional paid touch not handle not dont get too close to anyone or any earthly pleasure … grrrrrrr … i will stop now befoer my fluidity and real free flowing nature I had as a kid becomes rigid and brittle … i am off now to ride with the wind in downtown Phoenix with the rest of the freespirits … one of the fellow drivers in my company introduces herself as Spirit … 🙂 of course my handle is OPA! in greek it means celebrate life and in german it means grandpa .. so combine the 2 and u know who I am … hehe …

  4. I suppose I should answer some of my own questions. 🙂

    My favourite work of art is an autumn landscape painting that hangs in the living room of my maternal grandparents. If I’m recalling the story correctly, it was painted by their family doctor years ago. (Grandma, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong when you read this. 🙂 )

    The foreground shows a dirt road. It has been used so often that there are two grooves dug into the ground. A few tufts of half-dry grass poke out between the grooves. On the left side of the painting there is an old-fashioned split-wood fence and a gorgeous tree whose branches bent over with red-gold leaves overlook the road.

    There are fields to the left (and the right?) of the road, but I don’t remember seeing any signs of other life. The foothills in the background of the photo are my favourite section of it. Many times as a child I would sit on the floor and look at those hills, half-convinced that I could see the shadow of a little house nestled in a far-away valley. More than anything I wished I could climb into that painting, walk down that dusty road and see what awaited me at the end of it.

    Spending time in nature and storytelling (both the creation of and listening to) gives me a sense of wonder. I can think of few other activities that can make one feel simultaneously small and invincible.