Victoria and Albert Museum

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The Island

The Island

Human beings, like most warm-blooded species, have a fixed ‘adult size’. They stop growing when they reach this size, and begin to age and deteriorate. Some cold-blooded creatures, for example some species of fish, have no fixed adult size, and continue to grow until they eventually die from disease or predation. In theory, if these creatures were offered complete protection, they would continue to grow and live, and should never die at all.
The Island exists as a place protected. The inhabitants are participating in a special project, for which they were chosen and invited. As infants, all seven of the candidates exhibited the same small openings on the sides of their necks. Vestiges to their distant ancestors, these congenital clefts are the remains of gill slits.
The candidates are offered complete protection on the Island, where they are part of a research programme with the intention of determining new patterns of growth and discovering possibilities to help protect and extend life. While they are resident on the Island, the link between their make up and that of creatures with infinite growth is explored.
Taking this theory of protection/infinite growth as a starting point, studionumbersix is creating a two-part book: The Island. It tells the story of the inhabitants and the Island itself, exploring ideas about protection, the natural world and human beings’ place within it. The narrative unfolds through each candidate and their link with the natural habitat and ecology of the Island.
The Island is a limited edition, silkscreen printed, two-part publication, printed in residence at Enblanco, Berlin, as part of ‘Narratives’ with Bettina Wenzel. G F Smith generously supplied the paper for The Island.