Black Tourmaline, 2017

Black Tourmaline (Back), 2017 Framed Digital Print

Black Tourmaline (Front), 2017 Framed Digital Print


Black Tourmaline (front) and Black Tourmaline (back), depict a crystalline gemstone known as tourmaline. The rock belongs to Christopher Riley, a photographer friend of Tribe who has an extensive rock collection. The specific rock photographed by Tribe is one of Riley’s favorites, and these rock images present a type of ‘poetic portrait’ honoring their friendship. It is interesting to note that you are simultaneously seeing both the front and the back of the same rock. The pairing invites a set of questions. Is this the same rock? Why show both sides? Also, the experience of seeing two things simultaneously that in reality could never be viewed as such creates a brief moment of cognitive dissonance.


On a related note, the rock in the Black Tourmaline photographs has a presence in the Afasia video on view in the adjacent gallery, a work where Riley’s voiceover is paired with Tribe’s. Likewise, many of the houseplants of Forest for the Trees also make an appearance in Afasia. The monitor between the plants flashes proverbs that deal with plants, trees, and natural elements. Proverbs are an example of symbolic use of language that can be difficult to grasp for people with certain cognitive disabilities such as Riley who has aphasia.

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