Sunday 4 December 2011

December 4th, 2011 - Sunday

Location: Whitworth (or Sackville) Gardens
Designer: Matthew Carson, IT Project Manager & amateur artist -

Location Notes: This garden contains a memorial statue to Alan Turing, a man who had a profound effect not only in this city, but on the world. Father of computer science and artificial intelligence, Alan was also a codebreaker in WWII and cracked the Enigma machine. It is no coincidence that his statue is in this particular garden, next to the Gay Village - Alan was convicted of homosexuality in 1952 and allowed himself to be subjected to injections of female hormones as an alternative to prison. This irrevocably changed his life and his ability to think in the same ways as before, culminating in his suicide in 1954.

Shrine Notes: Read the verse on the shrine: Psalm 119 v 104 'I gain understanding from your precepts, therefore I hate every wrong path'. Look at the circuit boards and see the lines joining the components, branching off in different ways. Think about the choices you’ve made in your life and those still to come...the possibilities awaiting you. Pray to God for help in making the right choices, the choices that will bring benefit and goodness, not only to you, but to those around you.

Designer Notes: As technology rapidly overruns our modern society, Alan Turing’s influence is never far away. I was reminded of this at a recent exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery that included a work informed by Alan’s tests for AI (with no audio-visual clues, could a human ask a question and tell the difference between a computer and a human response). The shrine includes the innards of computer systems and I wanted people to think about the pathways on the printed circuit boards and relate those to the pathways we choose to travel in our lives.

Feel free to write about your thoughts and experiences with this shrine, or how you've seen people using it, as a comment (see below) or tweet @sanctus1mcr.


  1. We suspected that this shrine had disappeared by Sunday Dec 11 & have double-checked today that it has definitely gone. Still, it lasted almost a week, which is a good record for an outdoor shrine it would seem.

  2. Thank you Matthew for touching our City with the truth of Christmas in such a unique way,Dad