This slim volume offers a thematic exploration of religion and the digital arts. Over the course of six brief sections, this extended essay examines identity and community, authority and authenticity, word and image, ritual and practice, body and space, and myth and faith. Each of these paired sets is explored in concert with technologically inflected correlates. For instance, identity and community are paired with avatars and networks. These twin concepts provide the thematic anchor of each section. Each section looks at four works of digital art with each work employing digital technology in a unique way. The works include virtual and augmented reality pieces, 3D printed sculptures, digital photography, and digitally enabled performance pieces and installations and span the late 1990s to the present. This essay is an introduction to religion and the digital arts and, while no single conclusion can be drawn from such an expansive and diverse field, the reassertion of the religious and theological importance of the body and emotions in the face of digital technology emerges as a recurrent theme.
J. Sage Elwell (PhD, University of Iowa) is Chair of the Religion Department and Associate Professor of Religion and Art at Texas Christian University. He is the author of Inspired by the Word: The Bible through the Eyes of the Great Masters and Crisis of Transcendence: A Theology of Digital Art and Culture.
Religion and the Digital Arts J. Sage Elwell
Abstract Keywords Introduction
1 Identity and Community: Avatars and Networks
2 Authority and Authenticity: Surveillance and Resistance
3 Word and Image: Code and Artifact
4 Ritual and Practice: Performance and Participation
5 Body and Space: (Dis)Embodiment and Enhancement
6 Myth and Faith: Screens and Goggles
All interested in theological and religious analyses of contemporary culture and the intersection of religion, art, and technology.