What are shrines?
Shrines are a type of fansite devoted to a subject of choice, be it a specific character, relationship, series, or something else altogether. As a form of fanwork, they used to be a common sight in the world wide web sometime between the late 90s and 2000s, notably before the widespread use of smartphones and the rise of social media, both of which led to a shift in online presence, expression and interaction.
I hesitate to pin down shrines in a definition out of concern of limiting a format so multifaceted and malleable. For the purposes of this directory, I can say that shrines typically consist of an assortment of information, essays and media on the subject. Content and emphasis range from the compilation of material (such as an overview of official information, media galleries, link lists to fanworks or related sites) to the creation of said material (such as text, scans or graphics, and especially in the case of subjects with less presence), from the in-depth study of the subject to the archiving of one’s thoughts and feelings (such as essays or responses to the subject’s reception in fandom).
Their common characteristic — and what draws me to shrines — is that they are always a personally curated collection. That personal aspect permeates every element of a shrine: from its layout to its name to its structure, from the edited information to the hand-picked media, from the style to the voice, from the things its creator decides to address and display to the things they choose to omit. Making a shrine is an act of multi-layered creation (involving, among other things, text, code, and graphics), one that demands perseverance as all the pieces have to be gathered and edited to form something whole. Visiting a shrine is akin to entering someone’s memory palace and becoming witness to how they have arranged, transformed and stored every piece of significance to them.
Ultimately, a shrine is an unwavering love that has been given shape, uniquely formed in the image of its creator’s heart.