Thanks for your feedback on last week’s introduction of our new project codenamed Kijkdoos! We’ve developed the concept quite a bit, in part as a result of trying to figure out how to present this project on Kickstarter (more about that in a future post).
We had already been thinking of physical presentations of one or more Kijkdoos pieces in a room. And we had been fantasizing about a Virtual Reality simulation of such an exhibition, possibly with additional “magic” (i.e. things that wouldn’t be possible, or very difficult, in the real world). This idea has now morphed into a general umbrella that covers the entire concept. We’ve named this project Cathedral in the Clouds.
Not only have we sang the praises Saint Bavo cathedral in our home town of Ghent as a source of inspiration so many times that at one point it was mentioned on our Wikipedia page, we have also, alongside our desire to work with Christian iconography mentioned before, had several ideas for videogames that take place in simulated churches. So the puzzle pieces are coming together. It’s very exciting!
Our cathedral will only exist “in the clouds” that is to say in Virtual Reality. It’s an almost imaginary place that we intend to expand as new Kijkdoos pieces are being created. For every Kijkdoos piece we will add a chapel or niche to the cathedral building where the art can be experienced, much as is the case in actual cathedrals –except that in cyberspace there’s no physical constraints to expansion.
We don’t expect VR — which should enter the market in the fall or early next year, I believe — to become accessible to a wide audience very rapidly. As such, a certain pilgrimage will be appropriately required: to VR goggles connected to a computer that can run the simulation.
The individual pieces — what this project is all about — will still be shared as separate apps, downloads, web sites or videos, whichever medium seems to fit. In a way the Cathedral is mostly a name to bundle the entire project.
Although we are very excited about building a virtual house of cyberworship! Especially since we’re embracing the idea that it takes years, decades to build a cathedral. I imagine it will start as a rather sparse place and become increasingly ornate as the project grows. I hope that we can use the opportunity for patronage in much the same way as traditional churches: people fund certain parts of the church or pay for the creation of a particular altar piece, sculpture or painting. There’s wonderful opportunities here for Kickstarter rewards. But I hope this sort of patronage can continue beyond that. We’re building a temple for our cyber-community!
It was in the Gothic Revival Notre-Dame Basilica in Montréal where, in 2011, the desire to create art with Christian iconography really set its fangs in us never to let go.
As you might have gathered from the logo design (which is by no means final: this is not commercial, we don’t need brand consistency), we’ve been inspired by Neo-Gothic (or Gothic Revival) style lately. It’s a style of architecture and decoration that peaked in the 19th century. Neo-Gothic artists rejected the rationalism that came out of the renaissance in favor of reviving the style of medieval cathedrals. A typically romantic movement that often produces very ornate spectacles (if somewhat less devout than the original).
Once again, we’ve started a Tumblr log where we collect reference materials for the project. Have a look: http://kijkdoos.tumblr.com.
There’s no way you could be as excited about this project as we are. But I hope you like where we’re going!
PS: Feel free to ask questions in the comments. We have no secrets for our patrons.
2 thoughts on “Cathedral-in-the-Clouds”
Very excited about this project! My heart is warmed that you’ve returned to interactive experiences. I think it’s a great idea–and I’m thrilled that you’ve moved from the negative “why we hate video games” articles to the positive of creation.
But specifically, the ideas of approaching religion from a secular but not-condescending perspective is really very fascinating, and certainly possibly controversial. As simple of a viewpoint as it is, it’s one that’s never occurred to me before. What else is art for than providing different lenses to see the world through?
This is something I could see as a museum installation piece as well. Something here in New York’s Museum of the Moving Image, for example–though I could even see it in a traditional fine arts museum. As unfamiliar as I am with fine arts funding, are any of those routes possible? As something that is a collaboration with a specific museum? And then each sub-installation in the Cathedral could be made available elsewhere/online?
It’s not so much that I hate videogames as that I am very disappointed in them.
I’m also thinking of real space installations. It would be great to collaborate with a museum on a show. I’ll definitely investigate that. We have done things like that with The Endless Forest.