an infrastructure for interspecies communication

The MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology and the Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto Mississauga, are co-presenting the Futurity Island, an infrastructure for interspecies communication.

Concept: Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas; co-organized with Christine Shaw

Sound: Nicole L’Huillier

Architecture: Indrė Umbrasaitė

In collaboration with Tobias Putrih 

Land acknowledgement: Sadada Jackson; Opening Performance: Erin Genia, Nicole L’Huillier

Photo: Nancy Valladares

A network of water/sewer pipes, Futurity Island is assembled into an artificial skeleton that channels the sounds of “nature.” As an instrument used to drain swamps, the pipe is a metaphor for human-centered ecology and environmental domination, and a prime symbol of the Anthropocene. Futurity Island appropriates the pipe to bring humans and non-humans into a more symmetrical, collaborative relationship, aimed at listening to and hearing the silenced voices of our planet.

If basic and applied science can offer a general research framework addressing the water environment and climate change, artistic research and practice can merge critical thinking with out-of-the box approaches to existing knowledge, foster experimental learning environments, and invent new strategies for engagement with the public.

Inspired by discussions on radical imagination, Indigenous thought, collective intelligence, and plural ecology, this event invites participants to discuss and develop new habits of thought for the era of environmental collapse. The Futurity Island provides participants a space to speculate on interspecies ecologies and probe the usefulness of the concept “sympoiesis” imagining and working together in radical inter-disciplinarity toward desirable futures.

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology, the generous donors to the 2018 McDermott Award Gala, hosted by the Council for the Arts at MIT, the School of Architecture and Planning, Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto Mississauga, Musket Transport, Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter program, and IPEX.

Futurity Island, 2018 was commissioned by Blackwood Gallery for The Work of Wind: Air, Land, Sea, curated by Christine Shaw.