Nat Tozer

Is it a rock, is it a mirror (2023)

3 min 33 secSingle channel / Digital Video / Colour / Sound

In the opaque and deformed capitalist societies that we struggle to make sense of, corporate elites constrain the idea of the non-hierarchical collective. Seen as weak and depleted from capital and without continual expansion, the aims of the collective are not understood by the current and reigning economic system.

A public curiosity found at Ruakaka one summer camping trip shows collective engagement through the preservation of chewing gum. Quietly countering the reigning paradigm, this small marvel, a tolerated totem of community and collective, persists. Perhaps a future fossil, perhaps the rock drawing of our era, may it ever-persist!

Nat Tozer


Read by AI participants (imagined future archeologists) Jennifer and Edward:

Mineralogical dimensions, human compositions, remain under, unearthed, unknown. I want to think with you, together, we could conceive the matter and the time and the corporeal conceptualisation of this fossil.

I have acted badly but I want to collect these stones now. It’s an intemperate force within me.

Aesthetics. Primarily a picture, depicting life... what kind of life? Can you see, the representation? and all the tumbling, multiplying affiliations that you can witness? Is it a rock. Is it a mirror. It’s some of that, but more than anything, it wants, the aesthetic, to play with what it can be, or might be.

Playing with their image, playing with their lives.

Those ancients, the rock paintings, from a different time, a different life. Air different, ground differ-ent. But grasped today, this Pleistocene work reaching through 40,000 years, to me, and you. An incomprehensible moment, grasped, evidenced. Its rippling pigments, breathing with the seasons, through bacteria and fungi, colonise the paint. Continually reproducing through time.

Who are the subjects? Who are the authors? What is this image slipping through time?

This rock, the original rock trying, to describe the carbon of me, my clotted, caked and bloody nose, iron juices, trickling down. Bitten ulcer. It’s telling me of a vast operation, our carbon metabolism. Through its unearthing, we found another fossil layer, it has our name on it.

This rock, sentient, smells my sweat, senses my mineral composition, I think it does care. I’m trying but it's withdrawing. I need a community... decision fatigue, or something.

Stay with me and we can live and see, manifest and attend to this place.

Other works by Nat Tozer

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