MegaPrayer

by Jerry Snyder

NV

As participants approach MegaPrayer, they will see a giant, suspended rosary, the beads of which are blinking in various pre-programmed patterns. The crucifix for this rosary is an unadorned, life-size cross standing on a platform elevated slightly above the surface of the playa. MegaPrayer invites viewers to participate by stepping on to the platform and posing on the cross. When participants “crucify” themselves, sensors are triggered and hidden speakers play music. It may play Handel’s Hallelujah Course, or perhaps Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, a song from Jesus Christ Superstar, or “Rock Me Sexy Jesus” from Hamlet 2.  At the same time, the participant will be flooded with white light, becoming a messiah for the moment.

Viewers who are particularly observant will discover that the back panel of the cross contains a hidden cabinet, making the entire structure into a reliquary which may contain such devotional offerings as participants may leave there (playa gifts, bourbon, etc.). A different hidden cabinet will also contain controls that participants may use to control the pattern of lights flashing in the rosary beads. These controls will override the preset patterns, so participants could use the controls to, for instance, pray a rosary while lighting individual beads instead holding a bead between one’s fingers.

As participants explore the piece further, they will find stained glass images on the support towers which explore themes of spiritual calling, religious excess, and the personification of the divine.

In addition, the structure of the piece -- a ring of illuminated beads suspended on a series of towers -- defines a space in which participants will be able to create their own rituals, radical or otherwise. These might include late night mutant vehicle driven dance parties, impromptu sermons, or riffs on sacramental rituals. In that way, the project offers an invitation to, and a space for, improvisational ritual and performance.