The Western Oracle: We Will Tear The Roof Off The Mother installation looks like a house that's sinking into the ground, with only a steep shingled rooftop peeking out. It was designed at the Seattle Art Museum by artist Heather Hart as part of a growing collection of rooftop installations scattered all over the world. Visitors are invited to climb it, sit under a chimney as if it were a mast of a ship at sea, and use it as a place of self-discovery.
Overlooking Seattle’s Olympic Sculpture Park and Puget Sound, Heather Hart’s newest installation is a A-frame wood roof that visitors can climb and explore. It is the newest addition to a series of the artist’s oracle-themed domiciles and a structure that looks as if it has fallen from the sky and anchored itself in the ground. “It also could look like a roof that’s submerged in water. As people sit on top of it, it may remind people of Katrina or other floods in recent history,” said deputy director for education and public programs at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) Sandra Jackson-Dumont.
Interested in exploring the human experience of being inside or outside, as well as the perception of the underground and the visible, private and public, the artist creates enigmatic spaces that marry opposites in order to get to the truth. Much like an ancient oracle, Heather Hart’s installation aims to give guidance. As in a Buddhist temple, a participant may press gold leaf onto a section of the Roof in exchange for their wish.
Photos by Robert Wade
Video Stills from Heather Hart’s Western Oracle: We Will Tear The Roof Off The Mother by Seattle Art Museum