February 15, 2022 Courtney Napier

New App Explores Intersection of Art and Religion

Art can ask us powerful, open-ended questions. So can religion. Both urge us to look beyond the realities in front of us, and to explore the assumptions and experiences that frame how we see the world. They can free us from the constraints of what is, helping us imagine realities well beyond our own.

The Alight app features a wealth of images from around the globe, paired with reflections that encourage us to explore and question our own understanding in new (and potentially liberating) ways.

Alight app launches new remarkable conversations illuminating how art and religion
intersect in the 21st century

By Kings College London

The Centre for Arts & the Sacred at King’s (ASK) introduces a new feature to their Alight: Art and the Sacred app. The new feature called, Theology, Modernity, and the Visual Arts, is designed to offer a remarkable set of conversations between scholars about the place of religion in contemporary art.

The new feature brings together artists, theologians, art historians and curators who reflect on the challenging and illuminating ways that art and religion intersect in the 21st century. The discussions feature the likes of Sir Antony Gormley RA, Archbishop Rowan Williams, Rebecca Salter PRA, and more who explore what theology can learn from the insights and suggestions of modern and contemporary art.

Given the abiding power of Christian motifs, ideas and styles in a host of modern works that superficially look un- or anti-Christian, the group considers these indications that visual art and Christian tradition have not become complete strangers. They ask how contemporary viewers (Christian and non-Christian) interact with historical Christian art, and how modern sensibilities affect the viewing of earlier Christian artworks and artistic traditions.

The app arises from a four-year research project at King’s College London, funded by the McDonald Agape Foundation in collaboration with Duke University.

The Alight app introduces visitors to works of art from across the world in ways that explore their sacred dimensions and their devotional power. The new recordings provide opportunities for people to tune into and reflect on the visual arts as an arena in which some of the deepest questions of life and death, meaning and purpose, continue to be raised, and on the relationship of visual art with Christianity. The recordings are an addition to the apps existing map feature which directs users to locations around London with major collections and where some hidden gems in places of worship can be found.

An image of the app featuring the map function and audio recordings.

The app is free to download and can be accessed by Apple users on the App Store and by Android users via Google Play.

This article was published by King’s College London.

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