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Open Tafel: Public Space

At the big public table in Place du Samedi


The ‘prophecy’ of the oracle can be read as the voices of individuals in a group, but also as a socio-critical awareness, questioning the position of the human being in the social, political and ecological environment. Oracle is an uncanny embodiment of the moment. Observers are confronted with questions concerning normative behaviour in our society, such as nonverbal vocalisation and group stasis in public space. What is the place for the expression of interiority in public space? Emotions like grief, anger, fear, hidden feelings, vulnerability – the whole inner architecture, are normally private. Oracle reverses this process by making those aspects visible. We believe that fragile practices questioning the human position in society deserve a valued place; that vulnerability and precarity need to be included in shared public experiences.

We acknowledge that the reading of Oracle changes depending on the demographic of the practitioners, e.g. the difference if an Oracle is a group of women vocalising in public space or a group of mixed gender. The first can be easily dismissed as crazy or weird. From prior dialogue with observers this response seems to be culturally specific and needs further investigation.

On first impression Oracle appears as a format for vocal expression. In practice, listening is at its core. Listening asks that we understand, question and transform our emotional and cultural connections to oneself, to each other and to the environment.


“We could think of listening as creating a path to travel on, as a passage or bridge that we need to construct together through acts of exchange. A journey that we can not go on alone. Listening is risky, in that it might require change from us. Change that can be painful, frightening or difficult.” Lucia Farinati & Claudia Firth, The Force of Listening


We argue that silencing-processes are put into question during an Oracle practice session as the collective experience happens outside of hierarchical structures of disciplines and knowledge. A moment of equalisation of social or cultural status is created. In what way does oracle facilitate the creation of a utopian political space?


oracle can be challenging, disturbing or uncomfortable and easily dismissed as sonic vandalism while happening spontaneously in public spaces.


Below are some questions that we have compiled for us to think about during our Open Tafel on Monday:

Are the spaces and architecture chosen for vocal activism driven by gender?

Can we read architecture as a score for vocal activism?

Is space held by voice or is the voice shaped by the space?

Is the internal architecture (body vocal apparatus, thoughts, histories) more dominant in shaping thoughts than the external architecture of space?

Does the oracle practice challenge the way we hear gender, race and age?

How do we read people and read ourselves by listening?

How is listening affected when we take out vision?

How do we hear colour?

How do we listen to a cultural history in the voice?

How is sound stored in a memory? Is it related to the shapes and environment that it was heard in?

The female voice in contemporary culture is used to cite change. A harbinger of change, rebellion or activism. Is this time passed? What voice(s) cite change now?