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Shooting Thoughts at Paris’ Saint-Eustache

11/10/14

How to keep a really old Gothic church in Paris’ 1st arrondissement feeling fresh? Get the kids involved with an interactive display that employs the use of that which they can’t keep their hands off of: their cell phones.

The site-specific project, Shooting Thoughts, was created by designer Filipe Vilas-Boas in collaboration with Art, Culture et Foi and Nuit Blanche Paris. Using a mobile device, any viewer can tap into the mainframe and create pinpoints of laser lights that move through the centuries-old architecture of the Saint-Eustache church, past pillars and arches. Each “thought” creates a “star” that reportedly moves of its own volition, at a unique speed and with its own trajectory… like a PowerPoint presentation with a mind of its own.

In developing Shooting Thoughts, Vilas-Boas hoped to recreate an age-old concept for modern times. The original purpose of churches and cathedrals, including Saint-Eustache, was, in part, to “communicate with heaven,” as Vilas-Boas states himself. Shooting Stars, similarly, keeps the gaze vertical, creating “constellations” of manmade light. The result is one-part shooting stars, two-parts ‘90s rave cave—a juxtaposition of modern technology in a building that’s played host to Louise XIV’s communion rites, Mozart’s mother’s funeral, and Madame de Pompadour and Molière’s wedding.

While the display might not make it into the 2068 version of Saint-Eustache’s Wiki page, it is an interesting commentary on the state of our interactivity with the world—both seen and unseen—today. Given the social and technological climate, it seems fitting that our skyward conversations would be done with our thumbs.

Images courtesy of Filipe Vilas-Boas.