Monday, December 8, 2008

Comparative Sacred Space Diagrams

A few years ago I sketched this diagram sheet while exploring the Old City of Jerusalem and it's sacred places. I was seeking to understand differences, similarities between jewish, christian and islamic holy spaces. This diagram works in vertical columns organized by faith.

It was interesting to simplify extremely complex spatial and territorial qualities into small images.

Dispersion, lack of center, book focus, Minyan - group of 10, Space is temporary, Tent-like, Suitcase, Inward focus on the individual, blowing of the Shofar, lighting of candles, symbolism of light

Upwards, object like, worship of towers, highplaces, Golgotha, sense of a center, focus on mystery, Ringing church bells, singing, lighting of candles, symbolism of light

Across, A field of space, undifferentiated, sacred platforms or socles, natural decoration based upon natural forms, grids, shells, Recorded Muezzin call from Minarets five times a day.

This diagram shows an all too typical condition happening in the Christian quarter, minarets constructed immediately adjacent the Church of the Holy Sepulchre or other nearby christian sacred places. Imagine simultaneous ringing church bells and the sing song sounds of Muezzin calling out from minarets mixing together in a cacophonous single sound. Incongruous unity of sacred sounds blending together to make a new sound. It's worth a visit and listen all by itself. Mutual co-existence, albeit sometimes uneasy, is prevalent in such a precious, sacred place.

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