17th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest People
Divine Light

This work explores the elaborate relationships of power to how we perceive humanity, construct society and identify ourselves. It compares the religious supremacy of the past with the authority now wielded by omniscient mobile technology. The divine light used by Christianity in stained glass windows to underline the authority of the sacred image, has now been replaced by our devotion to the image on our phone screens in the modern era.

The dominating force of mobile technology dictates human behaviour in its ability to both constrain and free. Its ultimate power and authority is comparative to that held by religion a century ago. As an implicit religion, it is based on the sacralisation of the relationship people have with computers. The 1970s saw a transformation in our beliefs about human nature. With the development of the computer, came the birth of artificial intelligence and an expansion of knowledge. This knowledge goes hand in hand with power, and the discussion around computers has implications for what makes us human. Alexander (1990) remarks upon the prevailing concept of salvation in discussion of computer technology. Computers occupy a divine status in that their power can be used for either good or evil and that seems beyond human control.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 11.2017
Date Uploaded: 06.2019
Photo Location: London, United Kingdom
Copyright: © Ruby Steele
Photo of the Day: 06.19.19
Editor's Pick