The Northern Oracle: We Will Tear The Roof Off The Mother 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 am interested in the enigmatic nature of this space being 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. 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. I explore these ideas on paper in my series, Oracular Rooftops, thinking about nostalgia, perception, fantasy, play, duality, action. The Roof is a site of cosmic afro-futurism and ancient native legends.
As with the legends of an oracle, the method of building Roof was passed from person to person. It is made with traditional framing as structure, taught to me as a child 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, though I feared falling through the rafters into the room below. At the 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. Within the grounded attic space is the heart of the oracle, as in a Buddhist temple, a participant may press gold leaf onto a section of the Roof in exchange for their wish. An oracle gives guidance and truth. It is in a contemporary human’s nature to want to have an influence on their future, and to want to believe in something outside of themselves. The Roof is an amalgam of distorted traditions and symbols, bequeathed and mashed up to fit a cultural need.
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 in which to begin to understand the world’s territories. As we begin interacting with and learning about each other, a silent and maybe even subconscious stage of judgment is diffused. I believe people listen better when they are involved in the process of discovery.