Millennial Church

by Paul Stümpel

Designer, Visual Artist, Pop-Philosopher

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Church of Design

There are many projects in the recent history of design, which have certain spiritual qualities to them next to practicality and beauty, with design taking on new fields of problems. I would find it interesting to curate them as if they are parts of an existing religion. They don’t differ much in the qualities of existing religious habits but have their own language and accessibility. It is interesting, that all religious rituals were created at some point only in reference to the traditional texts, but not directly described in them. In this way they were also pretty randomly designed according to the needs of the time they were designed in (confession for example). In a way they are not even specifically connected to the believe in a deity. Why not just create new ones according to our time?

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Jan Pieter Kaptein

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Bart Eysink Smeets

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Erik van de Wijdeven

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Mayaan Pesach

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Flow = Spirituality?

“Flow” is an activity you fully engage with.

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I find it hard to recall if I actually read somebody making the connection in between flow and spirituality or if it came from my own reflection after reading about the joy of working in a flow. Everybody knows the moment when all of a sudden you feel very peaceful because some activity or mindset was making you forget all the tomorrows and yesterdays and had you fully engaging in this one thing. May it be that you put all your focus in crafting something, that you got lost in playing with kids for hours, that you were fully involved in a sport activity or that you forget yourself over a song or piece of art or strong emotion. I am freely translating Max Frisch because I could not find an official quote:

Most of the time one is not living in the moment. Excitement about a moment comes either from the excitement about the memory it will

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Techno Monk

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Dancing can be a spiritually rewarding experience. Especially in electronic music young people nowadays search nearly hypnotic moments. With a mask and a costume you could seal yourself of from the social interaction of a club or even public space and give justification to just dance. It could even go as far as monkhood, in which the monk would devote big part of his live to one activity (education, chant, prayer, gardening etc.) to broaden his mind. The idea of a the plastic bag came from the idea of creating something accessible and simple to make and was inspired by festival goers in the rain.

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Look Out Shrines

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Sometimes it can already help to physically change your viewpoint to see things different. High Shrines could give access to high points in the city to do exactly that. The inspiration came from a friend I interviewed who likes to get up high when he needs time to reflect, but criticizes, that most high places are private property. It’s either not allowed to get there or you need to pay. One quality of religions is that they provide access and infrastructure to extraordinary places and spaces mostly for free (places for prayer and worship, pilgrimage, natural heritage etc.).

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Train Ride Meditation

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Talking with people about meditative moments, two of the interviewed said that train rides for them are one of the most meditative activities if not specifically meditating. The consistently running landscape, lack of activity for distraction and the transition between different places are part of the experience. Many meditation practices are triggered by initiation activities like for example repetitive chants in buddhism. A contemporary one could be the streaming of filmed train rides. In a try out I added animated symbols on top of the train footage to surprise and trigger imagination and inspiration for your mind to wonder off. Here is a LINK to a video depicting this experiment and other sketches of the Millennial Church.

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Holy Spots

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This are Holy Spots to give new functions to and reoccupying public spaces by drawing in it. Public spaces have become less public and more and more shared private spaces. With taking over spaces by creating spacial drawings, it could be possible to claim new functions to it which are shared by a community who agrees on those new functions. For example you could create spots for resting, or for meeting, as well as for example singing or sharing food.

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Pop Prayer Cards

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Similar to the Worldly Psalms, the Pop Prayer Cards are an effort to emphasize rewarding texts from literature or pop culture in our lives. The example you see is an inspirational text which a friend of keeps rereading, because he is intrigued by the puzzlement. In the song text of Motorcycle Emptiness by the Manic Street Preachers he finds new interpretations and insights from time to time. The Prayer Cards could contain poems, book quotes, song texts, scientific statements, personal memories or insights and can be carried in the wallet for example.

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Procession of Fools

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The Procession of Fools is an idea of reclaiming public space and fighting conventions for the freedom of personal evolvement. Processions have the function of promoting the principles and ideas of religions and other believes and applying them to the pubic domain. If one of the principles of the Millennial Church is freedom of expression and being true to yourself, you can train the freedom in public space, alone or with a group. The chance is high that it feels awkward at first, but the feeling of changing the function of a public space in a group is nice. Flashmobs are a nice example of that. Today the functions of public space are merely any other then getting from A to B and consuming goods. Justifying to do something else like for example a pillow fight, pick-nicks or dancing in a place where it is unexpected can be fun and create a feeling of freedom and power over the

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Temple of Travel

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So many people wish to travel when they have stress, need to reflect or want to enjoy themselves. Traveling serves certain functions which are hard to achieve in our every day surrounding. Functions such as getting to know new cultures and people, changing perspective, getting inspired, adventure or maybe even just the feeling of warm sun on your skin. Nevertheless I believe, that some of those desires could also be fulfilled without having to leave the continent. Think for example about a Temple of Travel, which creates many different spatial situations which can be explored and shared with people. It can be as simple as a house with many rooms in which the atmosphere, the architecture, the music, the people, the functions or even the temperature change from space to space. In Eindhoven’s centre there was a squatted office building ones which is now a ruin. Before the building got

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Time Out Stick

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When I asked in which part of day to day live it could be helpful to create rituals, many of the people I interviewed said, that they would be happy to get of the computer more easily. Religions can help even with those kind of small struggles and provide measures of self control (for example prayer beads). When you assign an object to the action of leaving the computer, it is more likely to remember and act out a ritual, in contrary to installing a program for example. The object could for example be a USB-stick which you plug in your computer and which turns of the programs for a certain amount of time. Computers are such an important part of our lives by now, that we also need to develop spiritual and personal strategies of how to interact with them.

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