Native Tongue XR is an abstract-conceptual sculpture created in extended reality. Projected via a personal mobile phone or tablet, the 3m/10ft high totemic figure is experienced in real time and three-dimensional space. People can view the sculpture from close-up and from afar, encircling and exploring its form, scale, volume and shadow, while being surrounded by the sounds of native NZ birdsong. Close inspection of the sculpture's planes reveals the richly grained heartwood of a single majestic tree that was recovered from an ancient forest buried in Aotearoa NZ at the end of the last Ice Age. Brought to life through extended reality and shaped as a pronoun 'I' or the number One, the primal form proposes an alter-ego, an ephemeral 'Other I'. Like a spirit figure grounded in the Earth, it re-connects people to primordial roots while sending a text message to future.
Compliant with Covid pandemic social distancing requirements, Native Tongue XR brings an enriching art experience into public and institutional spaces across the globe. First launched in Australia at the international biennale Sculpture by the Sea 2021 (SxS) in Western Australia (SxS's first-ever extended reality artwork), the sculpture was presented on the coastal walkway beside the Indian Ocean at Cottesloe Beach near Perth, alongside works by artists from Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Denmark, Netherlands, UK, Switzerland, Czechia, Slovakia, USA, and Australia. The biennale SxS exhibition attracts over 200,000 visitors.