top of page

Where does curiosity lead us? 

nonlinear research

2014 - present


Nina travels to some of the most environmentally impacted, geographically distant, and economically important places on the globe where she researches how the natural environment is changing through human-centered activities. Nonlinear Research is an evolving narrative presentation that weaves together unlikely associations between piles of rocks, military secrets, climate change, obsolete communication technology, her family, meteorites, and the need for curiosity.  

Supported by residencies:

  • Wrangell Mountain Center, McCarthy AK

  • Anchorage Museum, AK

  • The Native Village of Wales, AK

  • The Chulitna Lodge Wilderness Residency, Lake Clark, AK 

  • The Island Institute, Sitka, AK

  • The Klondike Institute for Arts and Culture, Dawson City, BC, Canada

  • The Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, Otis, OR

This project is made possible with support from the Pollock Krasner Foundation, Mellon Foundation, Polar Lab Initiative at the Anchorage Museum, and the McCarthy History Museum in McCarthy, AK

TALKS 2015 -

Nina has presented Non-Linear Research as an evolving narrative presentation that art critic and author Lucy Lippard has called “something that embodies a social energy not yet defined as art.” This presentation is equal parts travel log, artist talk, poetic narrative, and a scrutiny of assumptions about the North. It weaves together unlikely associations between piles of rocks, Nina’s father’s untold military history, climate change, Native cultures, obsolete communication technology, and the need for curiosity. Nina has been invited to give this presentation at various universities, arts organizations, and federal research laboratories.

  • SITE Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM - September 2019

  • Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, NM - March 2019

  • School of Architecture and Planning, John Gaw Meem Visiting Scholar Lecture, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM - January 2019

  • Eastern Oregon University, La Grande, OR - December 2019

  • Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI - December 2017

  • Tamarind Institute, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM - March 2017

  • Klondike Institute of Arts and Culture, Dawson City, Yukon, Canada - April 2017

  • Grinnell College, Grinnell, IA - November 2016

  • Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO - May 2016

  • University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, CO - May 2016

  • 516 Arts, Albuquerque, NM - March 2016

  • Fairbanks Art Association, Fairbanks, AK - September 2015

  • Santa Fe Art Institute, Santa Fe, NM - September 2015 

VIDEO 2019

Nina was invited to present her work to the UNM School of Architecture and Planning as a John Gaw Meem Scholar. This presentation kicked off a week of intensive workshopping and rapid prototyping with all 280 students, resulting in an exhibition and partnership with with Deep Time Lab. 



Nina Elder is available to give presentations, workshops, and guide interdisciplinary projects. For more information, please email

Paradox, Sunrise, and a Thirsty Place  2019

American Scientist magazine commissioned this essay that traces the complexities of living and making art in an era of climate disruption, using the format of a scientific article as a frame for exploring those concepts.

bottom of page