Friday, September 09, 2005

About our 'wired' church

A new take on hi-tech

Had a call from Gordon Dalton, organising a Cardiff festival of Creative Technology – a new event sponsored by the Cardiff 2005 centenary celebration programme. (Check the website: This is bringing people together with a wide range of imaginative ideas of using various kinds of new technology for artisitic presentations, some of which are interactive. The call was to ask permission to project videoscreen images on to the outside of the church, as part of a city centre wide involving similar sites, and hopefully a host of adventure gamers using their mobile phone SMS service to interact with the game host. It's a text based game, with scenario borrowed from one of the classic MUD games, but 'indigenised' using the city centre streets as location. I suggested that we also had some good flat white interior surfaces for projection, and that project would be welcome to use the interior of the church also. Could be the start of something unusual in our relationship to creative arts. We already welcome many different groups of musicians and painters to use the church for shows. It's not a big crowd money making venue, but a place where creativity is to be supported and encouraged.

Marketing hindsight
This approach was made because word has got around about our church wireless access point, which has been running now for three months. It attracted quiet a bit of pulicity at the outset, from press and broadcast media. It was all quite naïve and amusing really, journos fantasising about people using laptops during sermons - a load of nonsense. The reality is that every day tourists from around the planet with 'wired' phone cams take pictures in church. Promoted well, the wireless hotspot could be of far more use to that kind of passing trade, wanting to send pictures home, than to businessmen on the hoof looking for peace, quiet and a good signal. I enjoy sitting writing with my laptop in public view at the back of the church. That way I get to chat with people entering. If must concentrate I hide out of sight behind the huge 'Father Willis organ', and work there. It's a marvellous space to work in – so big, peaceful and light-filled. The imagination can soar, and it's so easy to be reflective in this sacred space at the heart of the city's shopping district. We're so blessed.

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