Art in the City

By Carla Rapoport December 4, 2015

Partnerships are important to Lumen and one of our first partners, the Financial Conduct Authority in London, has been featuring Lumen work on its video wall for three years. In its annual party this year to celebrate the 2015 winners, we were delighted that two of our guests, Eddie Bacon, a talented light artist, and David Upton, a respected blogger, came along. Eddie contributed these photos while David wrote this incredibly thoughtful blog. For Eddie’s reflections on one of the winning works on display at the party, The New Jerusalem, please read on: A New Jerusalem is a revolutionary virtual reality experience that integrates sight, sound and the soul.

An audience member described the experience of “feeling like I was truly part of that world”.

The work was created by Michael Takeo Magruder with Prof. Edward Adams and Drew Baker and won this year’s Lumen Prize Immersive Environment Awards. The piece is based upon the narrative of the Book of Revelation to create a heavenly city referred to as the New Jerusalem that arises from the remains of the old world. The installation seeks to embody the spirit the New Jerusalem and manifests into beautify metropolis of light that can be witnessed on the screen and stepped into via a virtual reality set up, the virtual reality is in real time with the screened display so the viewer can choose to look at the world from the outside on the screen or step inside by wearing the virtual reality headset and along side the visual display is a mesmerising soundscape that completes the experience of the New Jerusalem.

The virtual space is situated within the heart of metropolis and if you look up the structures are endless with the walls pulsating with light and reflections, it is a similar limitless view when you look down, an audience member described the experience of “feeling like I was truly part of that world”. The structure of the city is based upon the text of the Book of Revelation being translated into data code form and then rendered into a four dimensional virtual space, the imagined cityscape is then constructed further using Google Maps data of present date Jerusalem and in the words of theologian Professor Edward Adams “a new creation is not a wholly unrecognisable place, even if the new Jerusalem is like no city the world has ever seen”.

The metropolis created is an experience of wonder that interplays ancient text with cutting edge virtual reality to represent one of the finest pieces of I have every had the opportunity to experience. The installation represents not only a truly wonderful piece of art it also shows what can be done with the unique vision technological boundaries of which Michael and his team have gone to in creating the New Jerusalem. New Jerusalem is part of the Decoding Shows series other parts of the series focus on the destructive elements of the Book of Revelation, Michael’s work can be found at www.takeo.org.

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