Nina Elder: Tongue Stones

January 19 - March 19, 2022

Artist and researcher Nina Elder creates projects that reveal humanity’s dependence on and interruption of the natural world. With a focus on changing cultures and ecologies, Nina advocates for collaboration, fostering relationships between institutions, artists, scientists and diverse communities. Her work takes many forms, including drawings, performative lectures, pedagogy and critical writing, long-term community-based projects, and public art.

Nina Elder Tongue Stones Tongue Stones depicts Elder’s futile attempt to gain intimacy, knowledge, and empathy with geologic materials by forcing them into her mouth. Filmed at the edge of a receding glacier in Alaska, this video is an inquiry into displaced and disregarded materials. In Tongue Stones, Nina embodies and implicates herself in the legacies of disruption, extraction, and neglect that shape the American Western landscape. By stretching herself beyond capacity, she manifests the exploitation and voracity that emboldens capitalism, and the overburdening that creates trauma in human and ecological bodies. The title Tongue Stones connotes the carved stones that are placed in the mouths of the dead in many cultures.