Tongue MP3 500 LT

Bollards, dis­tracted in the mid­dle of the road, now stand with bro­ken hips. Limbs spread on the floor like slugs. Slippery pud­dles of wa­ter mixed with blood. Parts of a mo­tor­bike that now look like a dam­aged trans­former. The phone, apart from the cracked screen, is the only thing on the tar­mac that re­mains work­ing with a half dic­tated mes­sage still dis­play­ing.

hey, i’m sorry this is­n’t work­ing out for you any­more. You were al­ways will­ing to give and give and I know you did, but I could­n’t keep up. I never gave you enough but I would like us to meet up be­fore you de­cide to shut us down. Could you please meet me at…

During the crash, the Tongue was bit­ten off and flew out of the mouth. After land­ing on a street bol­lard, it lay there for about a week un­til it­was washed down the gut­ter and into a sub­ter­ra­ne­ous world it had never ex­pe­ri­enced be­fore. It was the end of its old life and the start of a new one.

After weeks of adapt­ing it now ex­isted as a rare crea­ture 1, like an ex­otic slug, al­ways moist and al­ways feel­ing the omi­nous sur­round­ings with its taste buds evenly dis­trib­uted across its pink­ish up­per sur­face. To feed, it would act like a snake, elon­gat­ing in or­der to twist it­self around prey so it does­n’t es­cape (it would feed only on small bugs and bits of rot­ten food found in this new world). Once the prey has been caught and ren­dered breath­less, the di­ges­tive process would be slow, feed­ing through the same buds that al­lowed it to sense, now tast­ing and break­ing it down. To com­mu­ni­cate, it would use all of the skills it had in­her­ited from its de­pen­dent times, al­low­ing its in­trin­sic mus­cles to shape it and there­fore fa­cil­i­tate speech. The Tongue has evolved into a dan­ger­ous species, with ver­bal and sen­sory weapons. The only time it lays calmly and al­lows the nerve sup­ply sys­tem to work lazily is when it sleeps. The Tongue reaches its full­ness then, not push­ing against the roof of the mouth, but rest­ing on its mu­cous un­der­belly at night time.

Esther Merinero is cur­rently study­ing to­ward an MA in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art. She has ex­hib­ited in­ter­na­tion­ally and given lec­tures as well as cu­rated pro­jects at rel­e­vant in­sti­tu­tions. Her work dis­as­sem­bles the ex­ist­ing hi­er­ar­chy be­tween the pre­con­ceived po­si­tions of sub­ject and ob­ject, cre­at­ing a new role-play based on a mostly fic­ti­tious nar­ra­tive.

  1. It is often believed that the tongue is the strongest muscle in the body, which isn’t true, but it has a complex anatomy as it isn’t formed by one single muscle but by a combination of eight different ones. It functions in a flexible matrix in a similar structural way to that of an octopus’ tentacles. The octopus’ tentacles have 3/4 of the brain located evenly across them, which makes them sense autonomously, and so I come to think of the tongue as an autonomous entity that thinks and senses.