THE BIG UMBRELLA by Aleksandra Mir
210 x 300 mm, 158 pages, Full colour printed, Perfect bound, Softcover, Ed. of 700, 2008. Published with Galerie Laurent Godin.
The Big Umbrella, twice the radius of the biggest men’s umbrella on the market, was designed to shield up to 16 people from the rain. It was a cheerful and simply idyllic structure, but did 16 people want to crowd together to avoid getting wet? Does bad weather affect people differently in different parts of the world? To find out, I took my big umbrella on the road between 2003-2004, visiting Paris, London, Dresden, Copenhagen, New York and Martinique.
Traveling the world with a familiar object of uncanny proportions can have some unexpected effects. While the Big Umbrella proved useful as a tool for plucking down stray balls from trees, its unwieldy size on busy streets turned altruistic motives into harassment. Providing a shelter, it brought some strangers momentarily together, while alienating others, and in its most salient moments, simply aplified the solitude of the bearer.