Otaku Sanctuaries = religious

The closer this project gets to hand in, the more it evolves, which is a good thing but also frustrating as I only have 4 days now. I’ve felt for a while that this project is a really good concept but I hadn’t developed it enough. The whole time I’ve been doing research , I’ve not only strayed away from the point of the Sanctuary but also been undeceive with how to represent this world of intense fandom. I cannot do that now, I need to make decisions.

Sanctuary – a word I’ve been throwing about for a while but not stopped to think about what it means. To me it is religious, being raised as a protestant I learnt that the church is a sanctuary. As I got older it came to mean a place in which you can escape to, almost take refuge in. A sanctuary is a place where you can immerse yourself in everything you love.

One image pops into my head. A front room, filled with catholic art, figures of the virgin mary, paintings, incense. A devout Catholic home. The kind of kitsch approach taken on by photographers David LaChappelle and Pierre et Gilles. (The two photographers I respect most)

David LaChapelle


Pierre et Gilles

Now in my mind, these ‘Otaku Sanctuaries’ are the same thing as that Catholic room, it’s just a different obsession. Why have I never made this link before? I guess I’ve been relying on the initial strangeness of the hobby to impact on people. But that’s not enough for me, yes it’s strange but it’s also beautiful that these people regard these characters as highly as some people regard their God, a little scary too but it’s 100x more interesting than a simple observation. This led to me thinking about a photographer in particular, who have debated this link between religion and pop culture.

Soasig Chamaillard
 
Soasig Chamaillard’s work is both sculpture and photography. She takes old virgin mary figurines and adapts them so that they become a hybrid of religious figures and modern pop culture icons. Making the link between the two obsessions.

I feel like this project is finally going somewhere, I just feel that it’s taken me too long to get there. I need to be more analytical of every move in the future, stop trying to rush things and pace myself. If I had taken 5 minutes at the beginning of this project to think I could have established this link a long time ago. It’s becoming obvious to me that this is an area that always comes up. Photographers I respect and admire tackle the idea of religion and popular culture, but it’s gone completely over my head. Now it’s time to do something with this idea. Move it forward and make something out of it.

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