Public Discussion and Presentation
Global Prayers – Redemption and Liberation in the City
Signifying Space - Staging the Religious in the City
21 June 2011 6pm to 9pm at Hangar/Umam, Beirut, Lebanon
Holy Ghost services which feel like pop concerts; cinemas and theatres converted into churches; the Koran and the Bible as rap songs. New religious movements have arrived on the urban scene across the world – be it in Lagos, Rio de Janeiro, Istanbul, Mumbai, Berlin, London, or Beirut. What is new about these religious formations, how do they transform urban structures and spaces and which role do they play in post-industrial societies of the 21st century?
Global Prayers is a research and cultural project that examines and discusses the transformation of cities through (new) religious movements. The project focuses on the religious production of urban space, on transnational networks and their urban localizations, on the politics of religious communities and on the city as a stage for temporary interventions and transformative planning projects. International academics, urban scholars and artists have applied themselves to these questions by combining the methodologies and practices common to their fields of work; in doing so, they work on a new quality of knowledge.
In addition to an art exhibition (November 2011) and an interdisciplinary festival (February 2012) biannual workshops in the places of study are an important aspect of the Global Prayers research process. In June the international team of the cultural and research project Global Prayers – Redemption and Liberation in the City met in Beirut. One part of the workshop, composed by internal working groups, discussions and excursions, was a public presentation.
At THE HANGAR, members of Global Prayers presented images and recordings and show how religious groups position themselves in the city through architecture, images and sounds, how everyday places are turned into religious spaces, how through religious appropriations and activities urban space is claimed, negotiated, and signified.
Signifying Spaces – Staging the Religious in the City.
Works by Surabhi Sharma, Gilles Aubry, Anne Huffschmid, Paola Yacoub and others of the Global Prayers Project was presented at The Hangar. Anbara Abu Ayyas (Heinrich-Böll Foundation Beirut) moderated an open discussion, critical reflection and exchange of ideas with the Global Prayers fellows, local and international scholars, artists and activists from Beirut.