With the Awesome Grant, I plan to develop the next step of my project, “Oracle Machine,” previously performed at Artspace in Raleigh as well as the North Carolina Museum of Art. As seen in the image I submitted, the Oracle Machine is a contraption constructed from two boxes and a tube, covered in fabric and lights. I, the artist, act as the oracle,and have a box on my head, and the participant has the other box on their head. We converse by speaking and sound is carried through the tube from one box to another. The participant remains completely anonymous, as I cannot see them, and the boxes create sensory deprivation. The power of this seemingly absurd contraption is to facilitate an intimate, open and safe space whether the participant is known or not. I rarely tell the participant what to do, and instead talk through with them their situations. I am trying to inspire participants to be able to have honest, intimate conversations, which they will then hopefully be able to continue in their regular lives.
With the grant, I plan to employ a fleet of five oracles at a pop-up event at Anchorlight studios in Raleigh. I will recruit these oracles through my network as well as putting out an open call, and will interview them with a special focus on diverse backgrounds and experience. While I will give the oracles general guidelines on treating people in an open, unbiased manner, I hope each one of them will bring their own special approach to the experience. There will be signs instructing visitors to tell the oracles a secret or ask for advice, and visitors will have a chance to talk to different oracles in order to receive a variety of insights. I believe this will be a great event because it is participatory, unusual, and engages people in in-depth conversation while they are experiencing performance art. It will help visitors look at art in a new way as an experience rather than an object.
Funded by Raleigh-Durham, NC (July 2018)