a learning environment and a space for acoustic experimentation

Futurity Island is an immersive installation that turns environmental data into sonic cries, which address the structures—historical, metaphoric, and narrative—governing our climate futures.

By retooling drainpipes for interspecies communication, Futurity Island provides a learning environment and a space for acoustic experimentation. As an instrument used to drain swamps, the pipe represents human-centered ecology and environmental domination. It may be seen as the prime symbol of the Anthropocene.

A network of pipes is assembled into an artificial skeleton to channel the sounds of “nature”. This reconfiguration aims at rendering Amphibian Songs through the sonification of environmental research data—the physics of the soil, land, and wind.

The work filters soil toxicity data through samples of the sounds of Hydropsyche, a caddisfly genus that is an amphibious architect and natural sensor of clean water. The appropriation of the pipes brings humans and nonhumans into a more symmetrical, and potentially collaborative relationship, aimed at attuning to the silenced voices of our planet.

Futurity Island on site: PVC pipe, 6 channel sound, dimensions 680 x 830 x 420 cm. Courtesy of the artists.

Concept: Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas
Architecture: Indrė Umbrasaitė
Sound: Nicole L’Huillier
Collaborating artist: Tobias Putrih

Futurity Island was commissioned by the Blackwood Gallery for the exhibition Work of Wind: Air, Land, Sea, curated by Christine Shaw. Supported by UTM, Musket Transport, IPEX and National Endowment for the Arts.

The launch of Futurity Island in 2023 is part of the Partially Swamped Institution, a retrospective exhibition by Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas at the national Gallery of Art, Vilnius.
The installment on site was organized by curator Giedrius Gulbinas, consulted with architects Jonas Žukauskas and Jurga Daubaraitė, installed by Jurgis Paškevičius, Antanas Gerlikas, Gediminas Akstinas.

Photo: Gintarė Grigėnaitė, Jonas Žukauskas, Urbonas Studio