Native Tongue

Spark NZ — 2012

A monumental I-beam carved in the ancient heartwood of a forest giant articulates a one word, one number text message. Recovered from a buried prehistoric forest, the ancient kauri is a rare and precious wood from Aotearoa New Zealand. Radio carbon-dated at over 45,000 years old, it predates the end of the last Ice Age, the migration of Neanderthal man and early cave painting in Western Europe, the development of human language, and migrations to Aotearoa. Carefully excavated from a peat swamp in Tai Tokerau / Northland NZ and then dried for 7 years, this alpha native is a new antiquity that silvers again with age.

Located in the telecommunications heart of Spark NZ in central Auckland, the sculpture brings organic and historic content to the world of high tech, high speed digital communications. The I/One form stands tall and proud in the atrium, and quietly compliments the 5 star green building design with its structural I-beams. The warm glow of the oiled wood recalls the forests that once covered this whenua / land. Geometrically aligned with key axes within the atrium and visible from all levels in the open-air space, Native Tongue 'speaks' of a centrality, binding primordial connections, present day communications, and future networks.