This series of artworks utilize stream of consciousness list-making as a way to think through categories of information and concepts. The lists explore phenomenon, responding to questions including “What protects? What is fleeting? What is exponential?” The emerging words become large 2D artworks with the words meticulously incised into pigment laden paper.
When do concepts become phenomenon?
Three lists were reproduced as billboard-sized prints and mounted on the exterior of SITE Santa Fe. The images beneath the text represent the conceptual nature of the words. Can skin offer protection from uranium powder? Is an island that is being submerged by a rising ocean a fleeting thing?
Through stream of consciousness writing, Nina explores the phenomena that illustrate her more conceptual research. Asking questions such as “What is fleeting? What is exponential? She creates fields of words. She covers large pieces of paper in various pigments to further illustrate the phenomena and then incises the shapes of letters into the paper. Finally, after peeling away each letter’s shape, the ghosted words are revealed as a list.
alaska archive 2018
After 5 years of researching and working in remote parts of Alaska, Nina was asked to work with the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center, interacting with the archives and collections of the Anchorage Museum. As a response to the impossible and colonial impulse to collect, labal, and categorize, Nina made a drawing titled “An Incomplete List of Everything is Alaska.” The artwork materials include pulverized detritus collected from Anchorage Museum floors, graphite collected from Anchorage Museum Archive pencil sharpeners, dirt collected from Nina’s hiking boots after 26 hikes, campfire ash, and glacial silt.
An Incomplete List of Everything in New Mexico was printed as a tee-shirt and a limited edition poster. The shirt was printed by Youth Works Santa Fe, an organization that professionally engages youth on the margins. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to support their programming.
In collaboration with SITE Santa Fe's Education Department, Nina Elder created An Incomplete List of Things that Need to Be Protected. K-12 students were asked “What needs to be protected?” Collaborating institutions include the Academy for Technology & the Classics, El Camino Real Academy, Elevation Children's Center, Girls Inc., Santa Fe County Youth Development Program, and Santa Fe Public School's Kiva Program. Measuring 4’ x 30’, it resides in the Site Santa Fe Education Wing.