Island book by Caruso St John and Marcus Taylor
Island, by Caruso St John and Marcus Taylor

The Spaces has teamed up with Caruso St John Architects and artist Marcus Taylor on a new book – available now – exploring an island as a place of refuge and exile.

Brought to life with contributions from artist John Akomfrah and poet and musician Kate Tempest, Island accompanies the British Pavilion’s exhibition of the same name, commissioned by the British Council at the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale. Curators Caruso St John and Marcus Taylor have reimagined the pavilion as an island, a new public space for performances, discussions and afternoon tea in the Giardini. This limited-edition title is a parallel platform given to words and images.

Island book by Adam Caruso and Marcus Taylor
Marcus Taylor imagines the British Pavilion submerged by rising flood water. © Marcus Taylor

‘The book combines content that has been specially commissioned with other material that has been instrumental to our thinking about the project, or that makes connections and associations that we find interesting,’ says Adam Caruso, co-founder of Caruso St John Architects. ‘Together, these begin to sketch out a complex and intricately interwoven constellation of themes, which are in equal measure coherent and contradictory.’

John Akomfrah's contribution to the Island book
Island features The Utopia Palimpsest, 2017, by John Akomfrah. © John Akomfrah. Courtesy of Smoking Dogs Films and Lisson Gallery

Published in conjunction with our sister brand The Store X, Island also includes an essay from Penelope Curtis – director of Lisbon’s Calouste Gulbenkian Museum – exploring artists’ responses to flooding and disaster. Alongside this are found texts by William Shakespeare and Windrush generation writer Sam Selvon. Themes including abandonment, reconstruction, migration, empire, climate change, Brexit and sanctuary pervade their work.

Adam Caruso also reveals how the concept for Island was born – an ‘idea that sounded a bit crazy but got better the more you thought about it’ – and Marcus Taylor contributes a dynamic series of images.

The book is designed by John Morgan studio, who took cues from the first edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses, the cover of which is said to resemble a chain of white islands in a blue sea.

Both the Venice installation and this book are open spaces for collaboration, and for questioning and rethinking our relationship to the world around us.

Island by Caruso St John and Marcus Taylor
Marcus Taylor imagines the British Pavilion submerged by rising flood water. © Marcus Taylor

Island is the second Venice Architecture Biennale title from The Store X The Spaces, which follows Home Economics, co-published with REAL Foundation in 2016. Our titles call on leading critics, curators, artists, architects and photographers to reexamine how they curate, shape and experience the spaces that surround them.

Island, by Caruso St John and Marcus Taylor, is published by The Store X The Spaces, £30. Pre-order it now.

Editor-in-Chief of The Spaces

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