Joris Deleersnyder

The church using technology to draw young people? Maybe it isn’t such a crazy idea. What to think of a communion-wafer-machine, a confession chatbot or virtual reality glasses to attend mass? Joris Deleersnyder (Belgium) questions our almost religious zeal for technology.

The Last Reformation

Going to church on Sunday morning is no longer top of the to-do list for young people. But if the church wants to continue to exist, it has to attract younger generations. How? With technology of course! In a fictional future, Joris Deleersnyder (Belgium, 1993) shows us how the church can grab the attention of youngsters. With free wifi, a communion wafer-machine, a confession chatbot or virtual reality glasses to attend mass.

Maybe there are priests and pastors who will eagerly write down his ideas, but Deleersnyder also criticises our obsession with technology. Can social media really facilitate a spiritual connection with Jesus? And lighting a candle through your mobile phone, what does that actually mean?

We place a lot of confidence in technology, says Deleersnyder, perhaps as much as we used to place in God. We now ask Google all our questions, looking for answers in ‘the cloud’, rather than asking the Lord on his cloud. If someone falls ill, we hope for a new medical breakthrough. Sacrifices or prayers used to avert disaster; now we rely on technology to counter climate change. Deleersnyder studies photography at Luca School of Arts in Brussels.