What is Liturgical Media Art?

"What Is Liturgical Media Art?" a handout which include basic vocabulary, frameworks, and a bibliography of resources.

A Working Vocabulary for Church Dialogue on Media in Worship

Art

a social practice - Art is a general term that can encompass theprocesses and products of a person or group of persons who intentionally use expressive media of any sort to produce an artifact or an experience for the use, benefit, contemplation, inspiration, or interaction of others.

Liturgical art

any form of art that is integral and appropriate to the liturgical actions of a community's worship - The context and function of this art differentiate it from other forms of art. A distinct form of art, liturgical art is wedded to liturgical action and/or a liturgical environment.

Media

a commonplace term that refers to hardware and software systemsand to the products of those media technologies.

Media art

artistically created products or experiences that can result from any combination of electric, electronic, or digital technologies. This art can often be found combined with other art forms, such as prose or poetry; music or other artistically generated sound; two-dimensional visual art (e.g., painting, photography, computer art); three-dimensional art (e.g., sculpture, installation art, or an architectural space); kinetic art (e.g., cinematography or video art); or performance arts (e.g., drama or dance).

Artist

individuals or a collaborative group who "perceive, order, clarify, intensify, and interpret a certain aspect of the human condition for themselves" and for others.

Liturgical media artists

liturgical ministers who, regardless of their skill level or compensation (or lack thereof), intend to create some form of liturgical art or environment that involves the use of media.

Media in worship

media systems and products used in worship, regardless of how they are employed.

Liturgical media art

media art that is integral to the actions of a community's worship, that is media art of the liturgy, as opposed to the above-noted expression indicating media simply being in use in worship.

Basic Frameworks for Evaluation of Media in Worship

Framework I Analysis of the Overall Worship Context

A. Form of worship
B. Liturgical actions involved
C. Specific faith community
D. Overall worship environment

Framework II Analysis of the Functions of Media in Worship

A. To convey information

1) Welcome messages
2) Announcements
3) Theme or Scripture of the day

B. To encourage participation in worship

1) Lyrics
2) Prayers
3) Scripture
4) Sermon points
5) Directions for Liturgical Action
6) Focus or catalyst for communal contemplation

C. To enrich communications

1) Textual reinforcement
2) Illustration
3) Metaphor
4) Magnification of actions, persons, or objects
5) Connection to/with another location

D. To provide beauty

1) Liturgical aesthetics ("Beauty" in the light of Cross & Resurrection)
2) Media aesthetics (Light, Sound, Motion)

E. To open up an interactive "space" for discovery

Framework III Analysis of Pastoral Realities

A. Ministerial Formation for staff and volunteers
B. Ethical and justice issues
C. Limitations
D. Discernment related to this particular community

Copyright © 2002, Eileen D. Crowley


What Media in Worship Could Offer the Churches of Tomorrow: A New Form of Liturgical Art

Media art in worship can become liturgical media art,
when it serves the liturgical action,
is intentionally inclusive of the whole Body of Christ,
and comes to be understood as involving a liturgical ministry
whose participants need formation:
spiritual, liturgical, biblical, theological, ethical
technical and aesthetic

Those who contribute to this liturgical art and ministry
might include a wide variety of people already within the community,
and might draw others from the margins or even from outside,
into active engagement in "Communal Co-creation,"
a new form of spiritual exercise.
Those involved would and could include:
liturgical leaders and liturgists
film and television buffs
media artists and producers (amateur through professional)
graphic and other visual artists, art teachers, art historians
musicians and music fans, composers and arrangers
computer "techies" (enthusiasts and professionals)
children, teens, and young adults skilled in media production, arts, music
poets and other writers
...and willing souls...of all kinds...of every age
...you!

How?

  • Move beyond the current focus on "presentation technology" and churches' modeling of their media applications as in business and education to focus on media art as art that serves and is integral to the actions of worship.
  • "One size fits all" does not apply to media in worship. Develop media art & systems appropriate to the local context and needs. Appropriating media art and resources from elsewhere, whether purchased or found, requires artful, thoughtful integration for its fitting use within worship.
  • Invite artists of every kind into the communal creative process as teachers, guides, and co-creators.
  • Develop "environmental media art" in and around the worship spaces, including in gathering spaces, hallways, chapels, and shrines to reflect or to encourage meditation on the liturgical seasons, feasts and other special days. The church's main assembly space need not be the only place for media art. Used imaginatively, media art can contribute to worshipers' spiritual preparation.
  • Re-use the media art in other contexts, such as Religious Education, prospective member gatherings, or church websites, to reinforce its connection with Sunday worship.
  • Develop a spirituality of and a theology for all new media art.

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