May 5, 2019 - TBA21–Academy - Venice Biennale preview week
May 5, 2019


Biofluorescent seahorse. Photo: David Gruber.

Venice Biennale preview week
May 7–12, 2019

Ocean Space
Chiesa di San Lorenzo Castello
5069 30122 Venice
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TBA21–Academy invites you to its 2019 Venice Biennale opening week program at the recently launched Ocean Space. On the occasion of its inaugural exhibition, Ocean Space will host Joan Jonas in her captivating performance Moving Off the Land, David Gruber and Olafur Eliasson will be in conversation, and Dark Morph will launch their album, among many other events. Further details can be found below; please register to secure your space. We look forward to seeing you in a place where ocean action and ocean imagination meet.

Joan Jonas: Moving Off the Land performance and exhibition
Tuesday, May 7, 9pm and 11pm

Joan Jonas’s mesmerizing performance Moving Off the Land pays tribute to the ocean and its creatures, biodiversity, and delicate ecology. The performance takes place on the occasion of Jonas’s exhibition Moving Off the Land II, the inaugural project at Ocean Space, curated by Stefanie Hessler. On this exceptional occasion, Jonas is joined onstage by the celebrated composer, improviser, and electronic musician Ikue Mori and the performer Francesco Migliaccio. Combining movement, live drawing, readings, and video projection, Moving Off the Land draws on literary and mythological sources as well as multiple layers of gestures and brings together numerous aquatic beings, both real and imaginary.

Olafur Eliasson in conversation with David Gruber
Wednesday, May 8, 3pm

Markus Reymann, Director of TBA21–Academy, moderates a dialogue between artist Olafur Eliasson and ocean explorer and marine biologist David Gruber, investigating biofluorescence and the properties of light in water. Light has always played a key role in Eliasson’s artistic research, from his acclaimed The Weather Project (2003), a site-specific installation in the shape of a large-scale dazzling sun, which debuted at Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall, to Green Light. An artistic workshop (2016), conceived in collaboration with Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary and hosted by the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017. The fluorescent properties of light underwater have been a pivotal interest for David Gruber, who worked closely with Joan Jonas on her research for Moving Off The Land II, the inaugural exhibition at Ocean Space.

Lecture by Jeremy B. C. Jackson and performance by LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs
Wednesday, May 8, 11pm

This evening brings fabled American scientist Jeremy B. C. Jackson together with the rising star of experimental poetry, LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs. Writer, vocalist, and sound artist LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs is the author of the highly acclaimed TwERK (2013), as well as an independent curator, artistic director, and producer of several literary and musical events. Jeremy B. C. Jackson is an American ecologist, paleobiologist, and conservationist. He is an emeritus professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, studying threats and solutions to human impacts on the environment and the ecology and evolution of tropical seas. 

Black Water Rising. Lecture-performance by Laboria Cuboniks (Diann Bauer & Helen Hester)
Thursday, May 9, 11pm

What is alienation, and what can it do? What is its relationship with scale, and how does this relate to contemporary ecological activisms? Drawing on a xenofeminist approach, Laboria Cuboniks will explore the role of alienation as an essential ingredient to tackle global climate catastrophe. The lecture will be held by Laboria Cuboniks members Diann Bauer, a London-based artist and writer, and Helen Hester, Associate Professor of Media and Communications at the University of West London.

Dark Morph: album release concert
Friday, May 10, 9pm

A collaboration between Jónsi, the lead singer of Sigur Rós, and artist and composer Carl Michael von Hausswolff, Dark Morph performs tracks from its recent album, developed as part of its fellowship and residency with TBA21–Academy. During the Academy’s expedition program, Dark Morph collected field recordings, in collaboration with Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza, at the Vanua Vatu Reef in Fiji and subsequently mastered the tracks at Gee Jam Studios in Jamaica, whilst in residence at Alligator Head Foundation. The resulting work has previously been performed at Desert X, as part of The Current II – Convening #2 led by SUPERFLEX.

Oceans in Transformation – Overfishing by Territorial Agency
Saturday, May 11, 3pm

The research project Oceans in Transformation – Overfishing is structured through a series of meetings and summits, where experts from different fields of work—science, conservation, arts, policy making, indigenous philosophies, insurance, finance, activism, shipping, fishing, international law—unpack the respective territorial and disciplinary boundaries and engage the public directly. Under the header “messy studios,” these meetings echo the unstructured and apparently “disorderly” approach to making found in artistic practices. They are sessions where remote sensing, data visualization, scientific records, and narratives are combined to show possible new pathways for climate change solutions.

The New Centre for Research & Practice​ Hyper Annotations
Wednesday, May 8–Friday, May 10, 11am–1:30pm

In addition to its program of events, Ocean Space will host Hyper Annotations, the online-broadcasting channel of the innovative educational platform The New Centre for Research & Practice from New York. Three live sessions featuring conversations on arts, science, ecologies, and politics with artists, curators, and philosophers exhibiting at or attending the Venice Biennale. The program will take place on May 8, 9, and 10, between 11am and 1:30pm, and will be broadcast on the New Centre’s social media channels. All artists, curators, and art professionals who would like to be included in the program please contact info [​at​]


About TBA21–Academy 
TBA21–Academy leads artists, scientists, and thought leaders on expeditions of collaborative discovery. Founded by Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza and led by Director Markus Reymann, the Academy is dedicated to fostering a deeper understanding of the ocean through the lens of art and to engendering creative solutions to its most pressing issues. TBA21–Academy commissions interdisciplinary research that catalyzes engagement, stimulates new knowledge, and inspires artistic production. Established in 2011, the nonprofit’s program is informed by a belief in the power of exchange between disciplines and in the ability of the arts to serve as a vessel for communication, change, and action.


About Ocean Space
Ocean Space is a new type of institution, emerging from the values and thinking that TBA21–Academy has pursued over the past eight years through its programs around the world.

In the revitalized Church of San Lorenzo, Ocean Space fosters a dynamic platform for collaboration and exchange, enhancing ocean literacy, research, and advocacy through the arts in dialogue with science and other families of knowledge. Created to serve the many communities that are united by the ocean, Ocean Space embraces a range of different programs and resources—installations, performances, workshops, archives—and provides opportunities for artists, scientists, and the public alike to explore, invent, and establish new pedagogies of oceanic learning. This new institutional initiative, launched in March 2019, will continue to evolve through collaborative efforts of TBA21–Academy and its network of local and international partners, including universities, museums, government agencies, and research institutes. Alongside its programming, Ocean Space seeks to breathe new life and give new purpose to this historic structure, which has been largely closed to the public for more than 100 years.

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