(On how to measure a petition and a prayer)
Let's start with an example: the Ashram located at Jean XXIII[i] square has an inner temple that is dedicated to Ganesha and Daksinamurti. Before its opening, in order to bless the temple, 73 hours were spent in prayers and then divided into three days of ceremonies (Mahākumbhābhiseham), that were followed by 40 days in which the thousand names of the two gods -thousand in the morning and thousand in the evening- were daily uttered. This ritual should be done every 12 years for the sake of the temple’s enduring sacredness, which means that the 73 hours that will be spent to bless the temple, will occupy the following 10,512 hours, the time of prayer expands 1440 times, every minute is 1440 minutes, every second is 1440 seconds, in this specific case, a minute of prayer is exactly one day of life (1440 minutes = 24 hours). In this way the prayers occupy the time, to know how they occupy the space, we can obtain the density of faith[ii] by dividing the time of the prayer into the volume of the space (ρF = T/V), the temple has an approximate volume of 2081.342 m3, so in every cubic centimeter of the place are 1.26 seconds of prayer (1.26264651 s/cm3).
Let’s continue with another example: on Sunday, October 20th, I went to the church of Sainte Jeanne d' Arc[iii] to bless this medal, the procedure took 31.97 seconds, in Catholic religion a blessing lasts forever, so like Blake´s grain of sand, the whole future life of the medal is contained in that instant of 31.97 seconds. The medal has a volume of 3.60792 mm3, so each cubic millimeter of it was blessed during 8861 seconds, or saying it backwards, every second of blessing is embodied in a 112.85339 cubic microns of the medal.
After these two examples, let’s see what's in front[iv]. Between October 1st and November 1st of 2013, I went to different places of worship -temples, mosques, churches, chapels- for praying and learning to pray. Each and every one of those days I did different prayers with the intention of filling this space with blessings.
I timed my prayer time, I spent 3 hours, 21 minutes, 52 seconds and 850 milliseconds dedicated specifically to pray for this space, so that my prayers were present during the 30 days of exhibition, each one of my minutes of prayer will have to be multiplied by 213 987, so, each day of the biennial would be filled with 6 minutes, 43 seconds and 760 milliseconds of prayer. Therefore, an average viewer of the exhibition that walks through it for an hour, would be present in 16,823 seconds of my prayers.
This space has a volume of 10566.1206 m3, applying the formula to calculate the density of faith, in every cubic centimeter are 11.46386 milliseconds of prayer, now, unlike the Ashram, here are different types of blessings (Muslim, Hindu and Catholic) How are they distributed within this space? Does every blessing fills the place and supersedes to the previous one, for example, if in the morning I did two prayers, first one Hindu, followed by one Catholic, the Catholic replace the Hindu and stayed occupying the site[v], or, unlike physical reality, the particles composing a blessing have the property to occupy the same space at the same time and all times in one instant[vi], or, perhaps, a blessing behaves like a gas and as I was saying the prayer, it entered into the space and distributed itself[vii]?
On October 31st, I didn’t bless anymore, by contrary; at midnight I cursed the place. The question is again the same: the curse invalidated all my blessings, leaving a damned space, or as a blessing and a curse are composed of the same substance: faith, both are living together in this space? Assuming that the second hypothesis is true and the particles that make up the curse are sprinkled in the space next to the blessings, the curse that I made lasted 42.40 seconds, which means that 3685.68 cm3 of the 1056612.06 cm3 of the space are cursed[viii]. Applying the rule of the probability of Laplace, the ratio of cases probable and possible cases, tells us that there is a 0.35 % chance that whoever runs this space crosses a damned cubic centimeter.
[i] The Jean XXIII square that I’m talking about is located at the Rue Père Lafosse, Le Port, Saint-Denis, Reunion.
[ii] I name density of faith (ρF) to the relation between the material world and the ideal world, to the resulting quotient from dividing the physical dimension of an object (volume) between the amounts of time spent thinking about it (ρF = T/V).
[iii] The Sainte Jeanne d' Arc church that I’m talking about is located at the Rue Léon de Lepervanche, Le Port, Saint-Denis, Reunion.
[iv] This piece was written for the Biennale arts actuels Ile de La Réunion, Reunion Island, France. Any further reference to “this space” or “the exhibition” refers to the pavilion where were show my work.
[v] If this hypothesis is true, only the last prayer inhabits the space, which was addressed to Allah, on Wednesday, October 30th at 22:41 hours, with a duration of 22.53 seconds, so my prayer time is multiplied by 115046.605, making that the average viewer of the exhibition that walks through it for an hour, will have been present in 31.29167 seconds of my prayers, and the density of faith is 21.32 microseconds per square centimeter.
[vi] If this hypothesis is true, any attempt of measurement is impossible.
[vii] If this hypothesis is true the numbers originally proposed would be certain and faith would be distributed as follows: 27.9% of the space occupied by prayers to Allah, 30.9% of the space occupied by prayers dedicated to a Catholic God, and 41.2% space occupied by prayers made to different Hindu gods.
[viii] About one of every 286 cubic centimeters is cursed.