"Crossings" Thessaloniki Biennale
“Crossings” is an interactive installation that allows people to PLAY A GAME exploring the relative perspectives of sacred texts. The project was motivated from our global art/science team’s belief that most world’s conflicts are fueled by religious intolerance and misunderstanding. This is not a religious quest, but rather an artwork designed to help people understand that cultures and philosophies are not very different. It premiered at the Museum of Contemporary Art in 2009, with other eMobilart art/science collaborative teams from around the world, in Thessaloniki Greece. A projection of an abstracted Multi-faith Cathedral rotates slowly on a wall while people enter a virtual religious space. Visitors walk on a mosaic floor projection, hearing scriptures read in various languages over a sound track of electronically stretched voices sounding as musical instruments. A database of keyword frequency tagged texts is incorporated within our custom designed software. Participants are invited to prioritize dimensions of scripture content and instructed to select words (topics) to explore with an infrared wand. They slide them along lines on a whiteboard wall, leaving each along six horizontal lines at location(s), assigning more or less weight to selected topics. For example, extreme left (0%) to extreme right (100%). As words are moving, Mauri Kaipainen’s multi-perspective search engine derives texts revealing the relative importance scriptures provide from vertically searching (e.g. bottom to top) where words are placed. Simultaneously, text results are displaying on the adjacent wall. Participants can save their text selections and later retrieve them from a website to learn from which religions their color-coded texts originated.