one day in heaven

Auf dem Himmelsaltar, Peking / On the Altar of Heaven, Beijing
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In 2015, the artist Bertram Haude trained his camera on the baffling behavior of tourists inside the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. Struck by the visitors’ incessant histrionics and posing, he went back to the complex several days in a row, staying from morning until evening and creating a series of many hundreds of pictures. For centuries, the Chinese emperors offered large sacrifices on the Altar of Heaven that were meant to maintain the order of humankind and harmony between heaven and earth.


Taking their cue from the ritual that now plays out at the Altar of Heaven, the contributors examine questions such as: What makes millions of people visit what is ultimately just one of countless eminently photographable tourist attractions all over the planet? Is the world we have known subjected to a radical transformation on the “altar of digital technology,” and does this rite give birth to a new heaven of data and images? In this perspective, the altar would come into view as a key symbolic locus for the transition from an old to a new world.