Native Tongue XR


Empowered by the metaverse, Native Tongue XR is a free spirit transcending borders and materiality in a fast redefining world. Manifesting over 3m/10ft high and viewed through a personal mobile phone or tablet, the virtual sculpture is experienced in real time and three-dimensional space. Both atavistic and high-tech, it brings the past into the present. The totemic figure is the digital twin of an ancient kauri monument Native Tongue, carved from the heartwood of a majestic tree from a primordial forest, a taonga/treasure, buried in Aotearoa NZ at the end the last Ice Age.

Shaped as a first person pronoun and number One/First, Native Tongue XR proposes an alter-ego or 'Other I'. Rooted in the Earth, rays of light enliven the golden grains of the primordial wood and an I-shadow imprints the monument on the land. The virtual medium serves to amplify and release the figure’s time-bound materiality and minimalist form; siting creative technology within conceptual art frameworks, and as a means not an end. The audience moves from passive viewer to personal curator of Native Tongue XR, each siting the sculpture in place, amidst the movement of people, clouds, birds and trees, developing performative qualities and contextualising an experience of this otherworldly presence in public space.