Aesthetic Formations: Media, Religion, and the Senses by Birgit Meyer

By Birgit Meyer

The principal subject matter of this quantity is the incorporation of newly obtainable mass media into practices of spiritual mediation in a number of settings, together with Pentecostal-charismatic church buildings and Islamic routine, and using spiritual kinds and photographs within the sphere of radio and cinema. in line with a long term cooperation, the participants learn the function of faith and media within the emergence and sustenance of recent ‘aesthetic formations’ that entice the physique and the senses, and generate new varieties of binding and moods of belonging in our time.

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Extra resources for Aesthetic Formations: Media, Religion, and the Senses (Religion Culture Critique)

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People would always tell me, time and again, that Mãe Stella is such a humble woman. Common, plain—humilde e simples—were the terms they would use. But that was not what I was looking at during this opening night. Amidst the hollow phrases and worn out clichés that make up the soundscape of officialdom, Mãe Stella remained silent, Queen of an Ineffable Sacred, radiating a power and potency that far exceeded the ministers, mayors, and academics. In Bahia, the term Candomblé refers to multiple religious traditions of African origin, all of which are centered on the worship of spiritual entities called orixás.

However, judging from what I saw through the window of my car things might well be different this time. Hundreds of cars were trying to make it to the opening night of the Cultural Week, impatiently honking their horns, clutching up ill-lit roads, and floodlighting the street vendors who ran from one car to the next to sell their cashew nuts and beer and silicone bra strings. Policemen were all around, trying to control the traffic and monitor the crowds, who, in a steady stream, entered the central square of the terreiro’s compound.

A similar conclusion can be drawn regarding the visualization of gods in Tamil cinema in the 1930s. Stephen Hughes shows that the genres of the mythological and devotional were inscribed in ongoing processes of remediation through which the appearance of gods on screens was framed as a unique transcendental experience (Chapter 4, see also Hughes 2005; Vasudevan 2005). Such intersections between religion and film offer powerful evidence for the mobilization of media technologies in inducing belief via—and even in—cinematic or televised images.

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