The oracle, the keeper and the seeker at TiNA

THE ORACLE: Newcastle artist Naomi Wild will remain in character for four hours during the performance of Library of Souls at TiNA Festival. Picture: supplied
THE ORACLE: Newcastle artist Naomi Wild will remain in character for four hours during the performance of Library of Souls at TiNA Festival. Picture: supplied

TWO Newcastle artists, Naomi Wild and Shelley Tansley, will create a preformative installation at Watt Space this month as part of This is Not Art’s Crack x Theatre Festival.

The work will take place in one of the smaller rooms at the gallery and will see viewer become “the seeker”. 

Titled the Library of Souls, the work draws on a shared interest in psychology. Both women are art therapists, but also have her own art practices. 

“It’s a micro-performance people get to participate in,” Wild said. “So, it’s an immersive experience.

“The concept is around the value of words and the meaning we place on words.”

Participants will be asked to bring a word with them to the performance. Once inside the performance space they will be required to write that word in sand. 

“It will be quite post-apocalyptic,” Wild said. “It’s dingy and under the sewers … it’s set in an end-of-world scenario. 

“It is set around the idea that technology has failed us, the world has come to a space where people are trying to find answers to ‘how to be’.” 

The work is an interpretation of the myth of the Oracle of Delphi.

“She was exposed to fumes so she could hallucinate and they would interpret her rantings,” Wild said. “We thought it would be interesting to have a story to explore.

“We wanted to pose the idea of bringing your best currency in word form, there is no longer the tangible, no money, but bring your sense of meaning around something.”

The word will be received by the oracle and the seeker will participate in a weighing ritual that combines notions of justice with divinity. 

Wild will stay in the role as the oracle, while Tansley plays the keeper, for as long as four hours during the two performances. 

“We really love the idea of being immersed in a role for that long,” Wild said. “We will stay in that room for the whole time. 

“It’s quite intense. People arrive and they have to reset their expectations, while you remain in character. 

“You are providing a symbolic reference for them to find what they need … we are just the mirror.”

Each performance will last eight minutes. It will be performed on September 28 and 29, between midday and 4pm, at Watt Space, Auckland Street. 

TiNA festival, now in its 21st year, will be held between September 27-30. It will see three festivals – The Young Writers Festival, Crack X Theatre and Critical Animals – take place in 10 locations across the CBD. 

TiNA provides a national platform for experimental and emerging arts practices.