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Would you use a multi-faith prayer booth?

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 A close up view of a new prayer booth at a U.K. university. (manchester.ac.uk) A U.K. research team that collected prayers at nearly 250 places of worship has installed a multi-faith praying machine at the University of Manchester, according to the school.

The machine, which used to be a photo booth, now offers worshipers more than 300 prayers and incantations in 65 different languages. The choices range from Jewish chants to Aborigine devotional songs.

"Though the Pray-o-mat is a bit tongue-in-cheek, there is a serious message to what we're doing," said project leader and senior architecture lecturer Ralf Brand.

"Successful multi-faith spaces do not need to be flashy or expensive."

The machine, which is free to use, was designed by German artist Oliver Sturm and was installed at the university as part of the school's three-year project on multi-faith spaces.

Many of the prayers were recorded for the booth, while others were collected from radio archives.

"The people who use it are fascinated by archives. They listen to the prayers to see how prayers sound in different regions," said Strum in a German interview.

"What does a prayer in Himalaya sound like? What does a prayer in Cental Africa sound like?"

Christians, Buddhists, Muslims and even just curious passersby can navigate the prayer list with a touch screen and immerse themselves in a curtain-protected space for contemplation.

The researchers have explained the aims of their project in a short video.

Multi-faith Spaces from University of Manchester Media on Vimeo.


"In many places a small, clean and largely unadorned space can serve adequately," said Brand, who lectures at the Manchester Architecture Research Centre.

Dr Andrew Crompton, a senior lecturer at Liverpool University who also worked on the project, said the Pray-O-Mat is an example of the ad-hoc and creative ways people are weaving religion into their lives.

"Multi-faith space is something Britain is surprisingly very good at," he said. "It could be the answer in places that require temporary prayer space, such as airports or train stations," says Crompton.

Some people have posted their experiences of the German precursor to the Pray-O-Matic -- the Gebetomat -- on YouTube.



Do you think this converted photo booth can really be a one-size-fits-all space to pray in private? Is this a space you could take seriously? Why or why not?

If you're not religious, would you still be interested in listening to chants, hymns and prayers?



(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on reader's replies.)

Tags: religion, World

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