an 8-bit connection to God

by Hugo Desmeules, Montreal 2006-07

version française ici


E-shrine is a coin-operated interactive installation that interprets ritual dances into lo-fi video and 8-bit surround sounds.


After a donation to the Preacherbot, the altar's internal modem connects with one of God's ports. The user is then invited to dance a ritual of his/her choice. The movements and ritual prayers are then captured by the octogonal dancing device on the floor and then interpreted as 8-bit surround sounds and low resolution video in real-time. Good moves are rewarded with hot colors and happy sounds while bad moves produces cold colors and sad sounds. After God has seen enough of the performer's ritual, the final judgment is given.

All the money collected goes to repurpose obsolete robots such as R.O.B.


R.O.B. was a companion robot that used to interface with the Nintendo Entertainment system, but got a bad rep because people didn't really understand him. One day while meditating on the meaning of life and collecting dust in a wardrobe, R.O.B. discovered a fascinating magical movement sensing octogon made by the Sega Corporation: the Sega Activator.

The Activator was a magical device built to interpret human movements into machine language. Rob immediately saw its awesome yet dangerous potential as a portal for communication with God.

We met on the Internet as R.O.B. asked for my help. My tasks were to build a device that would interpret the user's movements captured by the Activator, then transfer the data by modem to God, and in turn transform God's data intoVideo and surround sound. The tasks seemed unmanly.


After countless hours of soldering, connecting and programming microcontrollers, the electronic shrine was working, the unthinkable had been done: an 8-bit connection to GOD.

R.O.B. then happily joined the ranks of the Temple of Robotology to gain and share knowledge about this mysterious artefact now know as E-Shrine.


The 2nd prototype of E-Shrine has been exposed at Usine C as part of the Robo Coop event presented by Elektra Festival for the 4th Nuit Blanche de Montréal on saturday march 3rd 2007.
(video coming soon)


E-Shrine (proto 1) was featured in Dorkbot-MTL #1 on june 29th 2006 at Centre Fractal in Montreal.

Splash Video

In-game video
E-shrine's first public installation happenned on May 4th 2006 for Exposed @ Concordia University
Video of 1st prototype (wmv 12 mg)





suggested ceremonial dances:

The rain dance, snake dance, sun dance, peace dance and especially the robot chicken dance.

Dance is part of many systems of belief about the universe that deal with the nature and mystery of human existence and involve feelings, thoughts, and actions.




References and interesting links:

The Religious Life of Robots

Robot religion ?

Wikipedia: List of Christian video games

Robot Heavens and Robot Dreams

Wikipedia: on Robotology

Wikipedia: on Ritual Dance

Wikipedia on Dance in mythology and religion