Rounding out a three-year effort by Xhurch to explore, scramble, dilute, and redefine the staid tradition of the Christmas nativity scene, Nativity 3.0 promised to shepherd visitors into an uncanny digital beyond...
See more of Scott Mayoral's photos at Intermediate States.
Planned in conjunction with Seattle's Hair and Space Museum and featuring contributions by Brenna Murphy, Rachel Hibbard, Van Pham, Lymay Iwasaki, Amanda Griffin, John Griffin, Chris Spencer, Troy Micheau, Isaac Frost, Adam Krantz, Ryan Stout, Simon Paige, Vivian Hua, and other talented locals, Nativity 3.0 aimed to "top out" in both conceptual scope and visual splendor, presenting a visual feast while riffing on topics like Infinity, The Coming Technological Singularity, Immortality (through technology), modern Spiritualism and THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT!"
Poster by Molly Curtin.
More photos at Intermediate States.
On December 23, 2010, the Xhurch hosted a live Nativity. It was by all appearances a faithful reproduction of a traditional Nativity, featuring Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus, three wise men, a shepherd, two lambs and a donkey.
Friends and neighbors gathered at Xhurch (a former church) and were treated to a familiar scene complete with classic Christmas music, mood lighting, good cheer, and hot cocoa. The cast (comprised mostly of professed non-theists), held static poses for upwards of 40 minutes to the delight of onlookers.
Inspired in part by the success of the 2010 nativity, the Xhurch hosted a second nativity the following year. But where the first production was meant as "an affirmation of the healthfulness of nostalgia and ritual," the 2011 installation was something far more radical: a spectacular amalgam of alternative mythologies, pointing to the arbitrary nature of history selection in general. Behold, Alien Nativity!
Alien Nativity was a whimsical scene, loosely based on the Nativity of Jesus, but with redefined roles for each of its characters, trading out three wisemen for four alien magi (bearing 'molecular parcels'), a shaman santa clause, androgynous Mary and Joseph, and a mysterious 'mirror manger,' causing initiates to reflect on the divine potential existing within them.
Alien Nativity was inspired by a mesmerizing papier mache alien bust produced by Lauren Carter on request for use as a Halloween party prop. Concepting began in earnest in November and was marked by a fertile collaboration between Joshua Lee Vineyard, John Griffin, and Matt Henderson, quickly growing to encompass the talents of Van Pham, Lymay Iwasaki, Amanda Griffin, Chris Spencer, Ryan Stout, Brandon Walter, Brandon Ellison, Sierra Grable, Josh Wrolstad, and Lauren Carter (papier mache master-artisan).
Alien Nativity was more successful than anyone anticipated, garnering international media attention and seeing hundreds of visitors.
Whereas Alien Nativity was funded in part by generous donations, and on a shoestring budget, Nativity 3.0 required a greater investment in technology and hi-tech mediums, some of which (Zebra Imaging holograms) were proprietary and therefore costly. Additionally, the construction demands were far greater requiring more raw materials and more time spent building. Lights were a key feature as ever (and costly). Nativity 3.0 was therefore made possible by the support of generous and passionate contributors, whether through Indiegogo or Paypal donations, or by in-kind donations made by individuals and local businesses, such as Rebuilding Center, Tap Plastics, Building Materials Resources Center, Atlas Glass, Home Depot, and Parr Lumber.
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