Future Assembly | The Umbrella Islands

In addition to ‘Home Ground’, we have also contributed to Future Assembly, an exhibition in the Giardini’s Central Pavilion as part of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition. Curated by Olafur Eliasson’s Studio Other Spaces, the work explores the value system of the United Nations and imagines new futures for how we can collaboratively come together.

Today, as humankind faces a devastating pandemic and a triple planetary crisis – climate change, biodiversity loss and severe degradation of air, land and water – we need to end our war on nature and begin to act more holistically to secure the health of the species, ecosystems and resources with which we coexist and on which our survival depends.

This ‘Future Assembly’ exhibition calls on all of us to re-imagine new pathways for our global governance architecture and to strengthen multilateralism so that it is more networked and inclusive. At this pivotal moment for people and planet, the United Nations is determined to work with all partners to uphold our shared values, navigate common challenges and seize the opportunities of the century ahead.’

– António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations


The installation ‘The Umbrella Islands’ is inspired by Alison Brooks’ annual pilgrimage to the Umbrella Islands of Lake Huron in Ontario, Canada. Part of the Canadian Shield, it is a four billion-year-old landscape and the largest area of Archean Era rock that is still visible at the Earth’s surface. The installation consists of four 63.5mm diameter core samples from this ancient rock formation, set in timber trays to offer a sensory sampling of the Shield, embodied by the Umbrella Islands. To accompany this are geological maps of the islands and a selection of Alison Brooks’ personal photographs that reveal the haunting beauty of the islands. It is the direct connection to an Archaean Era environment and the incomprehensibly long timeframe that the rocks have witnessed that makes the experience of visiting the Umbrella Islands so powerful.

Installation photo: Gerdastudio