Tomorrow at New York University’s Institute for Public Knowledge, Erica Robles will present “The Crystal Cathedral Megachurch: Architecting the Rise of Mediated Congregation.” The talk, which runs from 12-2pm, will focus on the confluence of architectural postmodernism and emergent media technologies in the reconfiguration of sacred space under the glittering arches of the American megachurch:
This talk reads the cultural logic of the megachurch by focusing on a pioneering and particularly influential institution, the Crystal Cathedral (1955 – present). Home to a congregation of more than 10,000 members and broadcast internationally, the Crystal Cathedral is one of the most visible Protestant churches in the world. Moreover, the Cathedral’s unique history provides an important genealogy for the migration of electronic media and modern architectural practices into American religious practice. The ministry brought automobiles and drive-in cinema (1955 – 1961), then glass, steel, and television (1962 – 1970), and finally architectural postmodernism and the Internet (1980 – present) into worship. By tracing their translation across multiple technological moments I will demonstrate the role of the church, from postwar to present, in determining technological meaning. By inscribing socio-technical arrangements with spiritual significance, megachurches legitimate the production of networked geographies. Technologies, re-framed by ritual use, collective social experience, and Christian cosmology, become a platform for mediated congregation.
Complete details about the event are available here.