Michael Takeo Magruder

1 - 31 March 2017




[ v1.0: 2014, v1.1: 2016 ]

An immersive virtual reality installation that seeks to embody the spirit of the new Jerusalem as described in the Book of Revelation


About the Artwork:

The narrative of the Book of Revelation is not just one of apocalyptic destruction; it is also a journey of salvation and unveiling. The Book’s positive culmination is expressed in the creation of a heavenly city – referred to as New Jerusalem – that arises from the remains of the old world.


A New Jerusalem is an immersive virtual reality installation that seeks to embody the spirit of this prophesised city. The artwork manifests as a beautiful and illuminated metropolis that is based upon Revelation’s architectural descriptions, and can be experienced through two distinct perspectives as witnessed and related by the Book’s narrator, John the Seer.


Unlike other pictorial visualisations of this biblical prophecy that have been created throughout history, the underlying structure of A New Jerusalem is generated solely from the text of Revelation itself that has been translated into a data code form and rendered in four-dimensional virtual space (XYZ plus time). However, the imagined cityscape is also constructed using current Google Maps data of present day Jerusalem, thus offering the possibility that – in the words of theologian Professor Edward Adams – “the new creation is not a wholly unrecognisable place, even if the new Jerusalem is like no city the world has ever seen”. Within this context, the artwork asks viewers to contemplate why we should care about our present society and environment if promises of “a new heaven and a new earth” (Rev 21.1) await us.


A New Jerusalem v1.0 was produced in 2014 as part of De/coding the Apocalypse – a solo exhibition exploring contemporary creative visions inspired by and based on the Book of Revelation; presented by the Cultural Institute at King’s College London in partnership with contemporary art centre MOSTYN and the Department of Theology & Religious Studies at King’s. The artwork’s research phase (2012-13) was funded by the Leverhulme Trust’s artist-in-residence programme.


Lumen Prize 2015 (Immersive Environments Award)
Videomedeja 19 (Bogdanka Poznanovic Award for best media installation)


Visitors to Gazelli Art House (London) will be able to experience the latest Oculus Rift version of the artwork in the gallery as part of the Gazell.io residency (1-31 March 2017).


A New Jerusalem _ Internal


New Jerusalem _ External



Real-time virtual environment created with Unity3D (visuals) and Flash (soundscape).

Available online at: http://www.takeo.org/nspace/2014-dta-new-jerusalem/dta-nj-internal-standalone.htm


* In April 2015 Google deprecated support for NPAPI plug-ins. As such, Unity3D webplayer works can no longer be viewed using Chrome. Please view with Firefox, Internet Explorer or Safari.


Visitors to Gazelli Art House (London) will be able to experience the latest Oculus Rift version of the artwork in the gallery as part of the GAZELL.iO residency (1-31 March 2017).






A project using the British Library’s digital collection of historic urban maps to create aesthetic designs and fictional cityscapes for the Information Age


Imaginary Cities is an arts research project that considers how large digital repositories of historic cultural materials can be used to create new born-digital artworks and real-time experiences which are relevant and engaging to 21st century audiences. The project takes images and associated metadata of pre-20th century urban maps drawn from the British Library’s online 1 Million Images from Scanned Books collection on Flickr Commons and explores transforming these digital materials into new aesthetic designs and provocative fictional cityscapes for the Information Age.


Supported by:

Imaginary Cities is a British Library Labs project by Michael Takeo Magruder made possible with funding by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This online work-in-progress showcase has been conceived and realised in partnership with Gazelli Art House.