Sunday, November 27, 2011

A chapel for the 21st century

In the modern societies we live in today, dogmatic and hierarchical forms of religion do not have much of a hold on us anymore. We no longer accept that there is a divine realm or entity standing above us, and we think that we can manage this entire deal we call life on our own. But after having explored being a fragmented and striving individual, without any connection to higher realms, we usually become so caught up in the tornado of life that we begin to question the meaning of it at some point. We become a little tired of the playing around in the physical world of form, that we start looking for more.

Architect Luis Pons must have thought something along those lines before he created a beautiful cocoon-like structure where people may become more still and find, so to say, the center of the tornado they are whirling around in. In his words: "In the chapel we leave the distractions and chatter of the everyday world behind. Here we are able to embrace and enhance our ability to reconnect to the energy source that is within ourselves and always available in the universe."

Turning inward as an individual, becoming esoteric instead of exoteric, is what we are replacing religion with. We no longer seek meaning in a higher, metaphysical realm, nor do we simply play around and have fun all the time as an individual on this earth. Beyond that, we seek ultimate meaning in the world we live in by finding the center, the home, of our own energy. We discover that beyond a physical being, we are an energetic being. As an individual, we juggle around in the realm of form. As a soul, we expand and play around in the realm of energy.

Because the function of religion has become purified from dogma and socio-physically decentralized, we can now incorporate it much more intimately into our personal lives, without any need for a big church. A space like Luis Pons' little chapel will do fine. The chapel is constructed within an aluminum frame that suspends 69 elliptical panels of translucent fabric. The serene and immersiveness of the space is enhanced by dynamic LED lighting, sounds, and scents. It is also possible to join in shared meditative sessions through an internet connection. Go see the work in Miami, where it is part of the exhibition called 'Soul does Matter'.

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