Frequently Asked Questions
The cathedral building will exist only in Virtual Reality. To visit it, a pilgrimage will need to be done to a VR headset. We're currently working with the Oculus Rift on Windows and OS X.
The individual dioramas, which are the real focus of this project, will be created for multiple platforms and devices, as many as feasible. We may make multiple versions of a diorama for specific platforms. So there may be a realtime 3D downloadable program to experience Eve and the Snake on a fast PC equipped with a recent 3D videocard (a game computer, basically), but also an interactive tablet app, a scrollable website and even something as simple as a video on !YouTube, showing the same diorama.
We don't want to compromise the integrity of the pieces, though. So we will always carefully choose the platforms that are suitable for the experience. Likely to be supported are Windows, Mac OS X, iOS and Android since we have a lot of experience with those.Last updated:
We believe part of the power of the old masterpieces is how well suited the shapes and treatments are to the medium used. This cannot be replicated on a screen. You can only have the deepest aesthetic experience in the presence of the actual object.
For Cathedral-in-the-Clouds, we want to create art that is native to the digital medium. Art that is made to be at home on the screen, that only works when running on a processor. Art that takes advantages of computer graphics for creation of shape and color (not reproduction!).
We will try to use CPU-on-screen like the Old Masters used paint-on-panel.Last updated:
No. We use videogame technology and our experience with developing videogames to create a digital work of art that is unique.Last updated:
This isn't the first time the Bible has inspired us. In fact, meeting each other in cyberspace in 1999 felt so divine that we presented our union to the world as "Genesis". After that we made 4 more pieces of net.art completing our very personal digital Pentateuch. We have bundled these as The Godlove Museum. In our games with Tale of Tales we've also regularly referred to Christianity. The identification of the deer in The Endless Forest was inspired by the legend of Saint Hubert. The graveyard of the eponymous vignette is a Christian burial place. And in Fatale we explored the legend of the biblical princess Salome. Throughout our career we've had numerous ideas for games inspired by churches and saints.
After visiting the neo-gothic splendor of the cathedral of Notre Dame in Montréal in 2011 this idea really hooked its fangs in us never to let go. We kept breaking our head over how we could possibly make a videogame out of a Madonna Lactans, a Pietà or an Annunciation. And it was only after we took some distance from the game industry that the idea came to us, among the beautiful medieval collection of altarpieces in the Wallraf-Richartz Museum in Cologne.Last updated:
As opposed to most of our videogames, we want to create Cathedral-in-the-Clouds on our own, just the two of us.
Auriea Harvey was born 1971 in Indianapolis, IN, USA and has a B.F.A. in Sculpture from Parsons School of Design in New York City. In 1995 she started http://entropy8.com
Michaël Samyn was born 1968 in Poperinge, Belgium and graduated in Graphic Design at Sint-Lucas, Gent, Belgium. In 1995 he started http://zuper.com
In 1999 we met and merged our websites to http://entropy8zuper.org to work as self-employed designers of websites and independent artists using new media and the internet. Then in 2002 we founded http://tale-of-tales.com to design artistic videogames of which 8 have been released, The Path being the best known. After our last game, Sunset, we decided to stop relying on commerce to support our work.Last updated:
We are both children of people who matured during the 1960s, Auriea in the US, Michaël in Belgium. As such our beliefs are a bit all over the place.
Michaël: “My parents were explicitly atheist but they sent me to Catholic schools anyway because at the time they were considered to offer better education. That's how I became familiar with the Christian faith and its rituals. This experience did not convert me but it gave me a lasting appreciation of the positive effects that the church has on society. I still enjoy visiting churches and regularly attend a service at the cathedral in Ghent. But I'm not religious in any formal sense. I appreciate the art and philosophy of Christianity, and I feel my life is enriched by the teachings of the Bible, but I don't believe there's an old man with a grey beard sitting on a cloud above us. Would be cool, though!”Last updated:
I was deeply affected by reading “Religion for Atheists” by Alain de Botton. The book describes how our contemporary world could be improved by some of the benefits that religion used to bring. When the Western world liberated itself from the authority of the church, we also lost much of the inspirations and behaviors that helped organize society and improved the personal well-being of citizens. The book suggests that we create new secular occasions with similar effects.
In a way, this has been started already by the embrace in the West of religious practices from the East. Yoga, Tai Chi, meditation, and so on, are all very popular among our mostly secular populations, because of their benefits to our well-being. But i feel that this cultural appropriation is not necessary. We have our own traditions and rituals, our own myths and mystics in the Christian tradition. Frankly I find it a bit naive to throw all of that away just because we've decided that god is dead. I mean: you don't need to be a Buddhist to enjoy yoga, right?
Alain de Botton actually suggests that art can replace religion to quite an extent. I agree. And I would say, especially the religious works of the Old Masters can have very beneficial effects. So I feel it's time to recuperate all the stuff in contemporary society.Last updated:
We intend the first pieces to center around certain Christian themes that have inspired artists for centuries. Because that's the thing we've waited so long to deal with in our work. But we also have ideas for expanding the subject matter later: into mythology (we love Greek and Roman myths!), fairy tales (we've already explored Sleeping Beauty and Little Red Ridinghood), literature (Salome, Ophelia) and even some pop culture icons.Last updated:
To be honest we are a bit tired of the modernism that has dominated art for over a century now. So indeed we tend to enjoy older art more. But we are people of today and we create now. We don't see Cathedral-in-the-Clouds as a nostalgic piece. We look at the past because we think it can inspire the present, and the future. And we will present every piece we create in a contemporary fashion. There is no need to replicate the masterpieces of the past (since they already exist). But we feel there is a great need for new art that reconnects us in a contemporary way with some of the universal sentiments addressed in the work of the Old Masters. Especially since new technology enables us, both creator and spectator, to explore this subject matter in entirely new ways.Last updated:
As creators of interactive art, we've always been acutely aware of the body of the spectator. We see your body as an essential part of our work. It is your body that responds to the stimuli we present, and the work in turn responds to your physical presence (your body plus the environment you find yourself in). While Cathedral-in-the-Clouds is intended for contemplation, and might be used by some for purely spiritual meditation, we reserve a lot of room in our work for the sensual. Much like the Old Masters, we don't shy away from the depiction of nudity, touching or sexual metaphors. These are very human experiences that we wish to include in our work. And we feel that these bodily sensations are inextricably bound to our spiritual aspirations. It is exactly where the magic of art resides.Last updated:
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