This fast moving world finds many of us on the quest for spiritual fulfillment.
Have you ever thought about being blessed? Perhaps you receive blessings on a regular basis? Would you like to choose your own blessing? Now, via Tate Online, you can be blessed wherever you are in the world, whenever you want!
Blessed-bandwidth.net, the latest net art project from Tate Online and its exclusive sponsor BT, is launched. The online work, created by artist Shilpa Gupta, offers visitors the opportunity to receive blessings for instantaneous peace and happiness through the use of internet technologies (www.tate.org.uk/netart/blessedbandwidth).
Blessed-bandwidth.net is set against a world often divided by faith and acts as a space for visitors to reflect on religion and its role in the world today. The work explores religion, globalisation and the complex cultural and political dynamics of the internet. At the site, you can choose the religion you were born into, the faith you have adopted, or a religion you are curious about (you will be able to choose from Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, and Buddhism). Once a religion is selected you can view video footage and photographs of the artist visiting the relevant place of worship, with a network cable and server documentation, and witness them being blessed by the priest or authority.
After you have watched the verification process you are guided through a 3-step ritual to receive your blessing. Following your blessing, you are presented with a certificate to mark the occasion. The site also offers visitors an application for recording their sins and accepting punishments in return, as well as a library repository into which they are encouraged to upload and share their own beliefs. Blessed-bandwidth.net is a place where real and virtual worlds are juxtaposed, encouraging visitors to consider how these worlds can overlap and merge.
Shilpa Gupta was born in 1976, Mumbai, India where she studied and lives. Like many of her generation she views the web as an extension of her daily reality. For her, the net is as habitual a part of a conceptual world as television was for an earlier generation.
Shilpa has participated in numerous exhibitions worldwide including Body.City at The House of World Culture, Berlin, Germany, Video Brazil, San Paulo both in 2003 and the inaugural Tate Modern exhibition Century City: Art and Culture in the Modern Metropolis in 2001. In the same year she had solo presentations with Mercer Union (Toronto), Gallery 4A and Artspace (Sydney) and Moving Image Centre (Auckland). Through 2002 her work has been shown at Site+Sight, La Salle Gallery, Singapore, New Territories, Glasgow, Wayside Diety at Art Inc, New Delhi, New Indian Art : Home Street Shrine Bazaar Museum at Manchester City Gallery, Self at IMA, Brisbane, Mango at Talwar Gallery, New York, Moist by MAAP in Beijing and in the Upstream project in Hoorn and Amsterdam.
Tates net art commissions (www.tate.org.uk/netart) contribute to the ongoing development of a distinct and identifiable programme for Tate Online. Blessed-bandwidth.net is the fifth commission at Tate Online and has received financial assistance from the Daniel Langlois Foundation for Art, Science and Technology. A further project by Natalie Bookchin and Jacqueline Stevens is scheduled to launch at Tate Online in January 2004. Critical texts are provided by Tate Online to support all net art commissions.
BT is exclusive sponsor of the award-winning Tate Online, the UKs most popular art website, and provides Tate with both financial and technical support. Tate Online and BT are working to make art more accessible through new technology. Recent other initiatives include the completion of online access to the entire Tate Collection and a dedicated Matisse Picasso micro-site for visually impaired people.
To receive a blessing log onto www.tate.org.uk/netart/blessedbandwidth from 7th November onwards.