New art installation at SUMA: “Tongue Stones”

A new art installation is up for viewing at the Southern Utah Museum of Art: “Tongue Stones” by artist Nina Elder.

The art piece is a 10-minute-looping video of Elder forcing stones into her mouth, filmed near a diminishing glacier in Alaska.  The piece “depicts Elder’s futile attempt to gain intimacy, knowledge and empathy with geologic materials by forcing them into her mouth,” according to the artist’s statement of her video.

The statement also says that the work is an embodiment of the “legacies of disruption, extraction and neglect that shape the American Western landscape,” portrayed by stretching her body’s limits to force the large rocks into her mouth.

Elder’s work revolves around evolving cultures and ecologies, often advocating for collaboration across fields of science and art. She is a researcher as well as an artist and her works range from public art and writings to performative lectures and long-term projects in various communities.

Elder says on her website that she “creates projects that reveal humanity’s dependence on and interruption of the natural world.”  

With “Tongue Stones,” she criticizes the burden capitalism places on both the environment and human bodies, creating trauma that will be felt for generations to come.

The installation can be viewed at SUMA until March 19 along with SUMA’s other current exhibits: a western-themed showcase with pieces by Andy Warhol and Billy Schenck and an exhibit by Patrick Dean Hubbell.

For more information on SUMA and its upcoming exhibits and events, click here.

Story By: McKayla Olsen
Photos by McKayla Olsen and courtesy of SUMA