THE EASTERN ORACLE: WE WILL TEAR THE ROOF OFF THE MOTHER
"Raw/Cooked presents a year-long series of five exhibitions by under-the-radar Brooklyn artists. Thousands of artists are creating work in Brooklyn every day, affirming the borough as one of the world's creative capitals. To recognize emerging Brooklyn artists and provide a showcase for their work, the Brooklyn Museum, with support from Bloomberg, invites five artists to present their first major museum exhibitions. The artists are given the opportunity to work with the Museum’s collection and to present in spaces of their choosing, however unconventional." (Brooklyn Museum, http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/rawcooked/#!/coming_up ).
I am so excited to be part of this series for the Brooklyn Museum. But I need your help! The Museum and Bloomberg were generous to approve such a large and interactive project, and I am so grateful, but I will need more financial support to fill some gaps. I'll need a full time assistant because I cant "raise the roof" by myself. I need to pay for transportation on trips to the lumberyard. I will also need funds to create a special replica of a museum piece that will exist inside my piece (described below) as the oracle, purchase special siding for the rooftop, help pay an honorarium to my special guests during public programing days (once a month for the run of the show) and cover material expenses that otherwise I can't afford. My vision is very big and the Museum is doing all they can to make it happen at the magnitude I envision. Alas, I need more.
My work is primarily interactive, so this is a unique opportunity for YOU to interact and collaborate with me to make this piece BIGGER, BETTER, and more ACCESSIBLE to the community by clicking the button on the right and spreading the word!
The Northern Oracle: We Will Tear the Roof Off the Mother, 2010
The Eastern Oracle: We Will Tear the Roof Off the Mother
In my current series of work I mash up fabricated and historical belief systems; legends that have been bequeathed through generations mixed with invention and intuition to fit current cultural needs, creating new ritual to reclaim our sense of purpose and empower the individual.
An oracle is an object, temple or person that gives prophecy, wisdom or truth to the seeker. In my diverse and home-grown borough of Brooklyn, I will be creating an oracle project that nods to certain pieces that relate from the Brooklyn Museum’s collection: mirrors from the Egyptian collection, oracle dolls from the African collection and the Schenck House itself. Instead of praying to a clairvoyant person or relic that someone else has infused with power, I want to flip the power structure and create a space for self-reflection and self-empowerment.
The Eastern Oracle will have the appearance of an independent rooftop, removed from its house, and dropped from the sky to live its own life in a new context. It could also suggest a house that has been buried or sunken into the earth, leaving an island of house to climb on, like a ship at sea. I would like to reference the fragmented Schenck house, part of the Museum’s permanent collection, and the colonial period with all it’s beauty and problematics. I am interested in this kind of enigmatic nature of a space. It exists simultaneously inside and outside, the underground and the visible, private and public, minimal and handmade, the spiritual and the natural. The content of a form may further transform depending on who experiences it and their perception, which is what happens to legends that are handed down in their oral tradition: transformation. A rooftop can refer to home, stability, shelter, but in this context, it is also an action of reclaiming power- of influence, direction and earth. This roof is a site of cosmic afro-futurism and ancient native legends.
As with the legends of an oracle, the method of building Roof is passed from person to person. It will be made with traditional framing as structure, taught to me by my father. As a child, the hot asphalt shingles of our roof, which I had help lay, was an oasis where I could bake in the sun and listen to music or read. And I longed to use our unfinished attic space to play and hide boxes of treasures, though I feared falling through the rafters into the room below. At this roof, a participant is faced with two choices to engage, to climb the shingled rooftop or to crouch down and enter its ground-level attic. I will include a skylight that allows a beam of light into the otherwise darkened attic coming from the rotunda window that centers over the Cantor Gallery on the 5th floor of the Museum. In this beam of light, within the heart of the attic, as in a Buddhist temple, a visitor will see a resting place for themselves in front of a mirror which will act as the actual oracle. They may press gold leaf onto the mirror in exchange for their wish. An oracle gives guidance and truth. It is in a human’s nature to want to have an influence on their future, and to want to believe in something outside of themselves. In this way the visitor may see it is they themselves who may furnish their oracular answers.
I want to encourage viewers to relate with my work through physical interaction and through a dialogue that depends on their perception. I want to create a space for conversation and contemplation. I believe people listen better, question more, when they are involved in the process of discovery.
Some of the Rewards
The print of pre-production plan drawing with my father (comes with one-sheet story of the rooftop):
Box for your attic:
Every attic has boxes of treasures tucked in it's corners. Years can go by without moving them- the memory of what is inside slowly fades and transforms. I will send you a box from my rooftop attic with surprises inside.
Original signed drawing:
These are one of a kind individual drawings chosen randomly for you, so I can't show them all here. Some examples are in the video, but here are a couple...