91. disco

The Romanian Orthodox Church is a dogmatic church, or at least it pretends to be so. Beginning with the 19th century it went through a very powerful process of secularization, which led to the loss of its land ownership in favor of the state. But it also led to the loss of building methodologies associated with Byzantine architecture. The windows of the churches were enlarged, they began to be equipped with stained-glass panels of Catholic inspiration, and round, flower-like windows (rosace) appeared on some of the facades.

The vulgarization of the church as a built object goes further in the 21st century. Taking their inspiration from the mayors of the sectors in Bucharest, who spent enormous sums of money on fountains that were equipped with colored light installations, the priests of several churches agreed to install colored light installations on their edifices, transforming a building that should follow a strict code of symbolic meaning into a visual show of doubtful quality, closely connected to disco music and psychedelic culture, rather than Christianity.

The Romanian Orthodox Church is not the only user of this juxtaposition of electric lights and sacred symbols. The residence of Gigi Becali is equipped with the same system, as well as with an enormous cross hovering over the surrounding fence. In his case, the confusion goes even further, because even though he is a self-confessed Orthodox believer, Becali erected a Catholic Christ in front of his house, a sculpture - a kind of representation that is forbidden in the Orthodox code, which only favors the bi-dimensional icon.

These recordings speak about the fact that the incorrect treatment of symbols is encouraged and supported by the church, which is visibly undermining its own discourse in the process. The administration's preference for kitsch meets the preference of the Orthodox Church and that of the nouveau riche, creating a visual style in which a debased Christianity is mixed with bad taste, becoming a characteristic visual language in the public space of Bucharest.