This is a digital map pin-art project, where a physical medium is placed on the streets of a city to build the metamessage. The project was inspired by Jerusalem, one of the spiritual capitals of the world. Its technical core is a combination of instant photography (film photography renown for documenting objective reality) and stickers (representations of Jesus from art history), as if Jesus was indeed photographed on the streets of Jerusalem. Conceptually, it is an attempt to speak about the nature of a modern spirituality. In the case of Jerusalem, does faith become a tourist attraction in a land with a long history and traditions that cost you a pretty penny to participate? Or can spiritual energy be invoked within one’s mind through the process of observation, meditation, and other altered states?
Human civilization preserves many incarnations of the spiritual leaders: Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, Confucius, etc. These high spirits still inspire people to create a better world with more healthy relationships. Yet, on a primitive level, the heritage of most religions and philosophies provoke the manufacture of a vast range of souvenirs repackaging bright humanistic ideas into capitalistic merchandise with no core message. In Jerusalem this commercialism is very clear. For example, you can purchase a crown of thorns from a kiosk, or book a wooden cross to carry up the Via Dolorosa while a guide takes a video to post on your social media.
Does the consumption of religious artifacts help us to experience the presence of a spiritual teacher, whomever we might choose? Or is he/she always here, among us, if we choose to believe so? To prove, that Jesus (teacher and symbol of humanism) is still present I “photographed” him and placed these collages on walls all around the city, combining instant photographs of the streets of Jerusalem with the legacy of religious art. Now, there is no need to pay a souvenir trader to invoke faith and spiritual energy.
Other goals of the project are anthropological and geographical, intended to satisfy the traveler’s curiosity and visual hedonism. All 85 locations were photographed on a digital camera and the shots attached to pins of the digital map so the viewer can tour modern Jerusalem.
P.S. It’s healing and sometimes even necessary to lean on the wisdom of the past with its legendary prophets and teachers. However, time doesn’t stand still. In fact, the future is already here and humanity will continue to welcome new realities no matter if it’s a metaverse or an interstellar experience. Those new conditions lead us to embrace the source of humanism and spirituality not in an outside world, but within our own mental space. Hopefully, the saying “Oh my God!” will only express an excitement for the new experience humanity is about to dive into.