The Eastern Oracle has 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 Brooklyn 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. A skylight 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.
Stations of the Roof, First Saturday program at The Eastern Oracle
Inspired by the Hajj, the Stations of the Cross and ritual pilgrimages to oracles throughout history and space, the Stations of the Roof offers a process of self reflection and empowerment on a participant's way to visit the oracle via five free stations.
Doowan Twuthers improvised dance and song on the Eastern Oracle.