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 in Tai Tokerau, Northland NZ, the ancient kauri is a rare and precious wood, a taonga, treasure. Radio carbon-dated at over 45,000 years old, it predates the end of the last Ice Age, the migration of Neanderthal man, early cave painting in Western Europe, the development of language, and human migrations to Aotearoa. Carefully excavated from a peat swamp and 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, spritual and cultural content to a world of high tech, high speed digital communications. The I/One figure stands tall and proud in the atrium as it quietly compliments the 5 star green building design with its structural I-beams. The warm glow of the oiled wood reprises the sensory realms of the ancient forests which once cloaked the whenua, land. Geometrically aligned with key axes within the atrium and visible from all levels in the open-air space, Native Tongue marks a cross-road, a column at an intersection of primordial connections, present day communications, and future networks.