Contrasting examples of liturgical installation art in Christian worship in England and Scotland from the 1980s to the present day
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This dissertation argues that liturgical installation is a sub-genre of installation art. Liturgical installation encompasses many of the same key characteristics as installation art but with the distinction that its main focus is to ‘serve the liturgy.’ I intend to demonstrate that liturgical installation, albeit in very different forms, has existed in Christian worship in Scotland and England since the early 1980s. This was initially on the fringes but latterly also within the institution of the Church. Despite its presence in worship for nearly forty years, to date, only a very limited amount has been published on the subject of liturgical installation either by academics, ministers or artists. In support of my key claim that liturgical installation is a sub-genre of installation art, Chapter One will explore the history, development and nature of secular installation art. Contemporary secular art installations, in particular the work of Ann Hamilton and Paul Thek, will be examined in detail. This body of work will be drawn upon throughout the dissertation by way of comparison with the liturgical installations under discussion. This will enable exploration of the parallels and differences between installations created for the purely secular art world and those with a liturgical focus. Chapters Two, Three and Four of the thesis investigate a series of liturgical installations in three different worship expressions: The worship of Wild Goose (1982 - Present Day), the Alternative Worship Movement, with particular focus on the Nine O’ Clock Service (1985-1995), the Late Late Service (ca. 1991-2000) and Soul Circus (2011 - Present Day) and specific instances where liturgical installation has been employed in institutional worship: that of the Presbyterian Parish Church of Renfield St. Stephen’s, Glasgow and the Scottish Episcopal of St. James the Less, Leith, Edinburgh. In addition, in order to compare and contrast liturgical worship with installations made for exhibitional purposes in ecclesial spaces, I examine three case studies of exhibitions at Sheffield, Salisbury and Birmingham Cathedrals. Throughout the thesis, I will explore what this new genre of liturgical installation has brought to the worship of the Church and what it can bring in the future. I will investigate where and for what reasons it has been employed albeit in diverse ways in these very different expressions of contemporary worship. I will conclude by offering some important questions and considerations for the enhanced practice of liturgical installation in the Church.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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Embargo Date: 2021-04-26
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Print and electronic copy restricted until 26th April 2021
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