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The Spiritual Imagination in Everyday World-Making

Dr Terence Heng

How, and to what extent do individual and collective imaginations play a part in our seeing and constructing of spiritual worlds in physical spaces? In this talk, Terence will illustrate and visualize the social and material processes that individuals use in order to see their everyday lives and spaces in a spiritual way. Starting in Singapore, we will examine various death, afterlife and religious rituals that can enchant one’s worldview of an otherwise mundane environment, performed in the context of state policy and diasporic memories – resulting in “flowscapes” around regulations and infrastructure. We will then move closer to home, and see how the concept of a “spiritual imagination” is equally at play in England, where different communities make use of place-making, aesthetic juxtapositions and bodily discourse to construct worlds of past/home, present/presence or health/wellness. The talk will conclude about what having and exercising a spiritual imagination means in our everyday lives – how this can be seen as an act of political resistance and everyday sacralisation.