Michael Stevenson’s “Signs & Wonders”
              Pedro Neves Marques
              There is a subplot in Harmony Korine’s movie Mister Lonely (2007) that would make a fitting companion to Michael Stevenson’s exhibition “Signs & Wonders.” It tells the story of a nun who survives her fall from a missionary aid plane flying over the forests of Panama. The miracle inspires her sisters, who take to jumping from planes to demonstrate their faith and the power of God to protect them. The nuns pray in mid-air, react in ecstasy to the miracle, and prepare diligently for every flight and fall. But how does one compute a miracle? And how does one prepare for it? Stevenson’s installation at Carl Freedman Gallery comprises four hand-built 1980s flight simulators, all of them facing screens onto which digital renderings of a flight over a forest in Papua New Guinea are projected. Visitors are unable to enter into the unmanned cockpits, and the simulators appear to fly themselves, heading back and forth across a real route between villages hidden in the mountains. Although there are no nuns in sight, each cockpit carries its own collection of evangelical and millenarian books, dating from the 1960s onwards, by authors involved with the School of World Missions at Fuller Seminary in …

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