18:1-7 THE CRYPT

18:1-7 THE CRYPT by JAMES CATTELL

directed by JO CATTELL

Presented in Sept 2002 @ Canterbury Cathedral (Canterbury, UK)

REVIEW (Kent Profile):

AN ARTISTIC FIRST AT CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL18-1-7 Art Installation Canterbury Cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral exhibited its first digital art installation in September when c2atelyst productions created a major project based around 18:1-7 The Crypt. Sound, digital image and vibration took over the cathedral’s crypt for the installation based on a passage from the Bible — Matthew Chapter 18, Verses 1-7.
The brainchild of James Cattell, who grew up in Canterbury and is an installation artist runnin c2atelyst with his sister Jo, the artwork was a big success, pulling in large numbers of visitors to experience the unique blend of projected image, sound and 900 year-old architecture.
Said Canon Richard Marsh, of Canterbury Cathedral: “The installation was risky, inviting comment and even criticism, but its presence also invited visitors to consider the familiar in a fresh and, maybe, disturbing way.”
A series of five lectures by leading professionals in their field was run in conjunction with the art installation. Ben Read and Canon Keith Walker opened the week with talks on art and religion’s relationship through history and Janet Street-Porter ended the event with a passionate opinion on how religious spaces should form a relationship with contemporary art in the future.
Three educational workshops with local schoolchildren were run by the arists, Jo and James Cattell to make the project a positive and refreshing week of events. Said James: “The installation was very well received by the public and everyone concerned and we had lots of requests for information about further projects.” (REX COOPER)

NEWS COVERAGE (Daily Telegraph):

‘Buddhist’ art in cathedral upsets evangelicalsCanterbury Cathedral has been accused of promoting “New Age” beliefs in a new art work which features video pictures of a naked baby to a soundtrack of Buddhist chanting.
The installation in the cathedral’s 900-year-old crypt has upset evangelicals who say that the repeated use of the sound “om”, which is regarded as sacred by both Buddhists and Hindus, is incompatible with Christianity.
The Evangelical Alliance said it welcomed new art but the use of “unequivocally” Buddhist and Hindu elements represented “new age spirituality which has no place at the symbolic heart of British Christianity”.
The Alliance, which represents more than one million British Christians, added: “It sends out mixed messages at a time when all Christians should be concentrating on speaking out clearly and unambiguously about the uniqueness of Jesus Christ to all those outside the Church.”
The work, which will be unveiled tomorrow, is also likely to embarrass the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey. Last year he encouraged the removal of a prayer from the Anglican Communion website because it included Mohammed and Buddha among a list of Christian saints.
But the installation was defended by the cathedral. Titled 18:1-7 The Crypt, the digital installation, the first such work to be exhibited in the 1,400-year-old cathedral, combines moving images of a two-year-old baby with the sound of a human voice chanting “om”.
James Cattell, who has exhibited his work in London and Stockholm, said: “The word om used within the soundpiece derives from a Buddhist influence but has been adopted by many individuals outside of this religion for their own purpose.”
Canon Richard March, the cathedral’s Director of Education, said the use of “om” was an integral part of the piece, and contributed to the spirituality of the place.
In Hinduism, “om” is regarded as the “sacred syllable” representing the universe and its oneness with God. It also features in the greatest Buddhist mantra, known as the “jewel in the lotus”. (JONATHAN PETRE)