Circling squares: Phenomenology, change-making, and the idea of the creation as theophany

Andrews, Jorella G.. 2020. 'Circling squares: Phenomenology, change-making, and the idea of the creation as theophany'. In: Religion & Art Symposium. Goldsmiths, University of London, United Kingdom 13 November 2020. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

“… what may be known about God is plain to them… For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Romans, 1: 19)

The theological idea underlying this presentation is an understanding of the creation as theophany (a manifestation of God mediated by sensible matter). Crucially, as insisted upon in the biblical book of Romans, this remains the case in even the most deprived, degraded and hopeless of situations in which the Godly or sacred are notable by their apparent absence. I argue that if change for the better is to occur within such sites of trouble, a revolution must first occur at the level of perception and thought. This is where phenomenology comes in. As a perceptually-grounded philosophical practice, phenomenology transforms vision and thought by requiring our engagement in decolonising processes of epoché (the ‘bracketing’ of biases and assumptions and the suspension of judgement) which can make us receptive to the self-showing of specifically situated life-giving realities (indeed, theophanies) previously unavailable to us. With care, these may become the fragile-yet-robust foundations for radically hopeful futures. My presentation will draw on theoretical ideas and on early-stage empirical research about the potential social impact of a series of small-scale labyrinth-building projects in sites of urban neglect.

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Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

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Visual Cultures


13 November 2020Published

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Goldsmiths, University of London, United Kingdom

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13 November 2020

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Date Deposited:

13 Dec 2021 12:16

Last Modified:

13 Dec 2021 12:16


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