Why do we believe what we believe? This simple question provides rich source material for exploring ideas about consciousness and connectedness through diverse media including sculpture, drawing, video, and human interaction.
An investigation of divination, and the ways that information which may be random – or not – informs our decisions, and therefore, our lives, forms the core of my visual investigation of connectedness among humans. The I-Ching, translated into English as The Book of Change, an ancient Chinese divination tool based on interpreting a set of six lines generated by chance has inspired much of my recent work.
Researching divination methods and the I-Ching inspired me to create my own oracle, ORQ[the Oracle of Random Quotes], in which visitors can co-create a dialogue about randomness and meaning, by asking a question and pulling random phrases from texts to determine the answer. An ORQ consultation often leads to intriguing conversations about ways we make meaning, or choose not to. A “non-scientific research question” formed the basis for my video installation “Four Oracles: One Question” in which I asked the same question (“How can I have more time and resources to make art?”) of four distinct oracles: the I-ching, ORQ, the tarot, and a tea leaf reading.
To invite collaboration and interaction with my work, I’ve created projects and installations which share an emphasis on involvement. In the ORQ [The Oracle of Random Quotes] project, visitors may consult with the Oracle, a light-hearted starting point for exploring randomness, free association, and the constant quest for meaning in our lives. Visitors may also contribute answers to the Oracle, which are placed into the contraption called “The Randomizer”. These hand-written phrases may subsequently be selected as answers to others’ questions.
After completing a series of sculptures using heads as containers for what we believe we know, I initiated the ongoing “Not Heads: Just Connections” series of drawings and spraypaintings where the head shapes are voids, and marks represent connective energy among us.
Juxtaposing familiar, tangible materiality of world-as-place with the “placement” of our truths and beliefs offers multiple ways to examine our shifting states of experience, perception, and connectedness: from free association to meaning, from text to context, and from the physical to the metaphysical.
Priscilla P. Stadler