Are We Human? Design of the Seabed
November 5 – November 6, 2016
Istanbul, Turkey

Clarion-Clipperton Zone, April 2015. Photo: Dr. Daniel Jones

TBA21-Academy proposes an investigation: Could the future of the planet depend upon our response to the imminent mining operations about to be unleashed in the depths of the oceans? During the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial “Are We Human?”, curated by Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley, TBA21-Academy organizes the participatory conference “Design of the Seabed”. The conference embarks from the hypothesis that deep sea mining is an anthropogenic intervention that will profoundly change the planet’s design. It will deeply affect our futures, which are closely entangled with the oceans.
Seabed mining targets polymetallic nodules that are used in the production of batteries, alloys and plastic, and may well be the next gold rush. Its effects will most likely be long-term and invasive, impacting ecosystems from the microbial level to the structural constitution of the seabed in a way that we are not remotely able to anticipate. Commercial exploitation of the seafloor is currently being evaluated from various positions, from multinational companies active in Papua New Guinea, to a pilot test program in the the Azores funded by the European Commission. However, potential risks arising from pollution to sediment plumes to toxicity are only marginally assessed.
The conference, curated by Stefanie Hessler and Markus Reymann, puts these hypotheses and questions to the test with invited experts from the fields of science, technology, law, policy, the rights of nature, ecology, community and art. With contributions in the form of talks, screenings and remote interventions, these specialists will cast light upon this highly topical and critical subject. We invite the audience to actively take part in this discussion to deliberate the impacts of seabed mining and develop a position by the end of the conference.
3rd Istanbul Design Biennial, Are We Human?
Curated by Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley
Alt Art Space Bomonti
Saturday, November 5, 2016, 2 – 8 pm
Sunday, November 6, 2016, 1 – 7 pm
Nabil Ahmed, Artist, writer and researcher
Georg Eder, Project manager TBA21-Academy
Stefanie Hessler, Curator TBA21-Academy
Zafer Kizilkaya, President of the Mediterranean Conservation Society
Margarida Mendes, Curator, educator and activist
Sandor Mulsow, Head of the Office of Resources and Environmental Monitoring at the International Seabed Authority 
Nilufer Oral, Deputy Director of the Istanbul Bilgi Marine Research Center for the Law of the Sea
Lisa Rave, Artist and filmmaker
Markus Reymann, Director TBA21-Academy
and remote interventions from a variety of experts
Click here