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Inspired by distributed computing projects such as Folding@Home and SETI@Home, Praying@Home is the name given to a suite of technologies developed by The Institute for Faith-Based Technology, or IFBT, innovators in the field of technologically-aided spirituality. The first development is the PrayerRecorder™ - a USB device that plugs into any PC and allows the user to capture her unique Prayer Signature®, an ultra-frequentic resonance that is “broadcasted” by the human body while praying. The user simply attaches the InFaBat Senso-Cap to her temples and forehead, presses a small InFaBat Prayer Paddle™ between her hands, and prays on a particular subject. Meanwhile, the PrayerRecorder captures and records the PrayerSignature to the users’ hard drive. Then, using the InFaBat PrayerBroadcaster™, we can broadcast her Prayer Signature, somewhat like an FM radio station that only God can hear! Unlike humans, who need to take breaks from praying to fulfill biological needs, computers need no breaks, resulting in 24/7 prayer output. Additionally, the PrayerBroadcaster unit is equipped with a SPU (Standard Prayer Unit) Amplifier, which increases the strength of your prayers by up to 54%. These technologies truly represent a revolutionary breakthrough in the field of Digital Prayer Technology. Praying@Home is a parody of Christianity’s attempt to validate itself in the scientific academy, as seen in “scientific” studies about the effectiveness of prayer, creationism, intelligent design, and faith healing. Our fictitious group - The Institute for Faith-Based Technology - claims to be interested in finding a link between technology and faith, seeming not to notice that their attempts undermine the very idea of faith - namely that it doesn’t care about evidence. They believe that praying is a purely mechanical task and should be dealt with like any other task that is such a waste of human effort - by mechanizing it. In so doing, not only do we save time, but we take advantage of the added efficiency, tirelessness, and networkability of computers to multiply the worlds prayer output infinitely, thus solving all of the worlds problems and creating a utopia on Earth.
The Institute will invite visitors to try out their PrayerRecorder and PrayerBroadcaster technology at the Expo in an attempt to get them to buy the home version. As a marketing scheme, the Institute has announced that they will try to collect 375,000 “Beckells“, or “Standard Prayer Units” (discovered by Fredrick Beckell in the 1970s) during the Expo. Each user who volunteers to kneel down in the booth and use the PrayerRecorder contributes a varying number of Beckells depending on the purity of their thought and the strength of their unique Prayer Signature.
The Institute also displays a not-so-subtle favoritism towards Christianity, simply assuming that the Christian God is the “correct” god to pray to, while also imposing their on values on the users by warning them against thinking any un-Christian thoughts while operating the PrayerRecorder. This very dystopic attitude betrays the fact that the illusion of utopia often hides a darker truth.
In society today, criticizing a persons religion is often seen as un-PC at least, and completely taboo at worst. Religion is given special privileges in most areas of public life, from politics to casual conversation, where other beliefs, like non-religious pacifism, are not protected by the law. People treat religion as if it is something immutable, like race or sex, rather than as a choice that a person makes for themselves. Through this parody, we hope to open a debate that is often enthusiastically avoided by forcefully insisting that religion should be open to criticism just like any other belief.
Research: Open Culture
Project Type: Data Visualization, Hardware, Installation