The audio segments are scripted from online experiences, gathered from interviews and journals. The video clips have been compiled from live webcams and the virtual world, Second Life.
Short of a conclusion, this video collage examines the requisite thread of presence, weaving online and offline religious experience together. The constant explored is the necessity of location for a spiritual experience (Hierophany).
If the sacred can breach the profane, it occurs at a place, a site; regardless of its physicality or virtuality. The video is a collage of both loci through audio and visual media. The decision to script and narrate the audio segments was a result of a few issues. As my research, filming and interviews happened online, interviews were led using Skype, instant
messaging and email correspondence. For this particular bricolage of online and offline experience, I felt that attempting to match up the various audio qualities as well as somehow display written text from IM and email exchange would distract from the experiences themselves.
During my research the aspects of orality in religious ritual was a recurring theme. Across many faith traditions, the experiences of those from the mythic age or others in contact with the sacred are recalled and even 'performed' as an integral part of ritual. I decided to include this practice of narration in the video with the use of a single narrator. I wanted to mitigate what I thought may be distracting questions of gender, race and ethnicity to surface while viewing the video. I digitally manipulated the voice with a slight echo and deeper pitch to replicate an automated voice.
The video was produced as a part of semester work in the course Anthropology in Virtual Worlds for the MA program at the Freie Universität Berlin in Germany.
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