In Classical Antiquity, an oracle was a person or agency known as a spiritually powerful intermediary with prophetic ability to access insightful life altering information.
Artist Heather Hart says, "The legends of an oracle are passed down from generation to generation." In much the same away the method of building a roof was passed to Heather Hart by her father. "... I want my work to act as a catalyst to help a visitor reclaim their belief in their own power. The Roof is an amalgam of distorted traditions and symbols, bequeathed and mashed up to fit a cultural need. 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." Hart's Western Oracle is connected to a growing network of interactive installations or rooftop oracles installed in different parts of the world where the artist reclaims personal and collective legacies while creating space for participants to explore the meaning and power of truth.
Structurally sound in its architectural framework, the artist's sculptures are designed to elicit public engagement. "People may climb the shingled rooftop or crouch down and enter its ground-level attic." Within Hart's grounded attic spaces is the heart of the oracle. In the artist's Eastern Oracle, as in a Buddhist temple, a participant could make an offering in exchange for their wish." "The 'shrine' in the Western Oracle is influenced by local First Nations and Japanese legacies. A visitor is invited to approach a window that looks out onto the Puget Sound and sit under a chimney that looks into the sky. The window is framed in a wall that acts as a drum, referencing local histories and providing means for a sound exchange as prayer, ritual, expression and fun."
Heather Hart is a Seattleite living and working in Brooklyn, NY. She studied at Cornish College of the Arts (Seattle), Princeton University and received her MFA from Rutgers University.
Installation of The Western Oracle is made possible by a gift from Martha Wyckoff and Jerry Tone in honor of Ann Wyckoff. Support also provided by The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation's 2012 Creative Leadership Award presented to Sandra Jackson-Dumont. Additional support contributed by Michael J. Corliss – The Truss Co. Special assistance provided by Joseph Seymour and Will Smith.
- The edge of the roof is approximately 14 feet above the ground and there is no railing or fall protection.
- Roof is steep and slippery.
When interacting with Western Oracle, visitors: