Dear God, It's Me, Tivo

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It's interesting to think of the correlations between religion and reproduction. From illuminated manuscripts to the Guttenberg Bible, sacred texts have pushed reproductive techniques forward. Electronic media have only entrenched the scenario: Televangelism, holy-rolling web rings, and spiritual podcasts might put the script in scripture, but they have also led to what some are seeing as a revival in spiritualism among online consumers, er, believers. In Karlsruhe, Germany, new media place of worship ZKM has mounted an exhibition entitled Medium Religion, which is focused on what happens when religious faith moves "from the private sphere of personal belief out into the public sphere of visual communication." The works they've included--by artists Christoph Büchel, Paul Chan, Wim Delvoye, Valie Export, Omer Fast, Boris Groys, Vitaly Komar, Beryl Korot and Steve Reich, robotlab, and many others--consider the role of images in broadcasting ideology and the structure of mass media's discourse networks. While looking at the link between world views and worldwide transmissions, the show also raises the question of what happens to "minority faiths" and how they weather a ratings or hit-driven communication economy. In addition to the many art projects included, the show features a number of "documentary installations" that provide evidence of spiritual transmissions' popularity, ranging from a roundup of Osama Bin Laden's video messages to episodes of Paul Eugene's Gospel Aerobics. But that raises another question... If the body is a temple, what would god make of the new flesh? - Marisa Olson

Image: Valie Export, Ingrid and Oswald Wiener, Das Unsagbare Sagen, 1992

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