Research from a Cyber Pilgrim  

I am interested in the phenomenon of cyber pilgrimage and online spirituality. I want to use this residency exploring these themes inspired by the book 'Doing Ritual Criticism in a Network Society: Online and Offline Explorations into Pilgrimage and Sacred Place' by Paul Post and Suzanne van der Beek. 
The first place I will take you is Lourdes. Lourdes has an interesting history looking from the perspective of a cyber pilgrim. 
After the nativity scene the Lourdes Grotto is the most copied sacred space. Making it so you can visit Lourdes by foot from almost everywhere. 
Now you don’t even need to leave your home to visit Lourdes. You can follow the going ons 24/7, light a candle and much more. I will investigate these possibilities before moving on to my next destination. 
A cyber pilgrimage like the one to Lourdes connects three places: the physical location of the pilgrim behind the screen, the online site, and the place of the pilgrim shrine in the offline world. There are also cyber pilgrimages to places that only exist online. More on that later. 
I love it when I have the Grotto all to myself. 
Distance 6.12km Duration: 01:27:56 
The Well 
What struck me in 'visiting' Lourdes is that I felt the need to combine my online experiences with the offline. To get what was on the computer out of it. Make it more 'real' by giving it a physical shape. 
You can visit a lot of churches trough web-cam 24/7. I feel like a voyeur observing all these daily rituals without anybody knowing I am there. 
I am still a body in front of a screen. The screen as a part of my own ritual.  
Mount Olympus - Home of the Gods 
When googeling sacred places there are lots off lists that contain a majority of sacred landscapes. Olympus always spoke to my imagination. Especially when the live web-cam is accompanied by the text: 'Home of the Gods'. It is also a magical place to me beceaus everytime I look at it it looks different.  
A strange Sunday for me. At home beceause of the Corona virus I decided to take my first communion, online of course. And on baking my own communion bread. With the baking I had some help from Janie: I must say she made me feel so American and safe. Brother Carlos helped me out with the communion: 
I also followed the service of the Noorderkerk in Amsterdam through my computer. Because of Corona they urged people to stay at home and watch the live stream. It was so strange because all of the sudden I did not feel invisible as a viewer. The pastor was looking straight into the camera for a large part of the service and even adressed the online audience. This never happened to me before. 
Long before there was the option of cyber pilgrimage people where finding ways to go on a pilgrimage without having to travel for days or months. From this perspective you could see the labyrinth as a symbolic pilgrimage. I decided to try this precursor of cyber pilgrimage and found one near my home. Walking the labyrinth I tracked my steps with the app: Map My Tracks. The program got confused by my walking around and created a new path. I must say that I like this new form of labyrinth.  
Ave Maria 
A lot of shrines and churches are closed to the public because of the Corona virus. But that does not keep them from streaming their services to the internet. 
Lourdes is still live 24/7 and there is one priest praying in front of the grotto totally alone for nine days straight from 17 til the 25th of march. Every hour or so they rotate. 
It is really beautiful to hear one man sing on his own. In front of the Lourdesgrotto without public, except on the internet; no one to sing with him. It sounds vulnerable and beautiful. 
While other people are watching the news, I get Ave Maria every hour. And even as a non believer it gives me a spark of hope. I recorded Ave Maria every time I heard it and combined the tracks. So they are not so alone after all. 
Word from the Wise 
Home Devotion 
Inspired by the rise of online churches due to the Corona virus I decided on making my own shrine at home and take it online. Fight the fear by lighting candles. 
Not able to leave my house because of a cold I use what I can find and make it accessible to the public 24/7 on YouTube. 
If you want me to light a candle for you please let me know. You can email me at; all requests are welcome.. 
Link to youtube: homedevotion 
In my work I take things historical, like a pilgrimage, as my starting point. Tales about visions, healing and miracles that seem far fetched, but spike my curiosity. 
Investigating these tales by gathering evidence. Making them my own using photography, moving images and installation. 
I looks at the modern world like an archaeologist from the future, examining reoccurring themes and trends. 
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