TBA21 Digital Spring
May–June, 2024

Design: Lana Jerichová

At TBA21, we map contemporary digital narratives and artistic practices, advocate for overcoming the dialectical logic of binary oppositions, and bring forward interconnections, collaborations, and coexistence. 

Technology is not only an artifact but a system and a practice shaped by social and cultural arrangements. Within our digital ecosystem, we investigate the potential of storytelling and transdisciplinary collaboration within and beyond archival practices. We create infrastructure for research environments and learning communities. With all this work, we advocate for a "radical openness" inspired by the open source movement, promoting knowledge and tools that are shareable and open to collaborative development. This openness is not just about sharing information but also about actively seeking and incorporating diverse perspectives and promoting collective action. 

This spring, we'd like to share with you the many streams of our digital activities. Throughout the coming weeks, we will introduce you to our ongoing digital research, new commissions, events, and other online opportunities. Keep an eye out for a "Digital Spring" sticker on our social media channels!

TBA21 at MMMAD, Madrid

Catch us at the MMMAD+ Festival's Art & Technology Days, taking place from May 10–12 at Medialab Matadero, Madrid. On May 11, you can join us for a joint presentation on Organismo | Art in Applied Critical Ecologies, an independent study program organized by TBA21 and Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, connecting research, theory, and speculation with specific cases of regenerative interventions. On May 10 and 12, we will be diving into digital oceans with Ocean-Archive.org Digital Resident Mae Lubetkin—see more about the program below.

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Performing the System
Operator on st_age

We are happy to present a new commission for TBA21 on st_age by the artistic duo Operator (Ania Catherine and Dejha Ti)! At the core of this exploration and the film co-produced for st_age is Operator's slow synthetic cinema project that challenges traditional ideas of truth and reality, presenting viewers with immersive vignettes of synthetic media. The documentary draws us in with intimate interviews and compelling visuals, exploring love as the central force behind art creation and addressing themes such as the invisibility of technology, the instability of reality, and the transformative potential of art in the digital era.

By navigating themes of plausible deniability and the violent potential for sexual violence enabled by deep fakes, Performing the System invites viewers to confront the ethical complexities of our increasingly digitized world. This commission, showcasing Operator's innovative approach and artistic practice, aims to inspire viewers to rethink their relationship with technology and envision a world where creativity, empathy, and innovation converge to shape a more inclusive and equitable society. 

The film first premiered at the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza in April and is now available to watch online on st_age, along with a podcast, hosted by Marta Peirano, a journalist specializing in technology and power, who is joined by researcher specializing in deep fakes Henry Adjer, and human rights advocate and technologist Sam Gregory.

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Move & Meet Like the Ocean ~ ocean comm/unity/festival
In-person at Ocean Space and digitally on Ocean-Archive.org

Want to connect with the ever-growing community of people with a shared love for the Ocean? This May and June, we are organizing moments to get together and celebrate our online coalescence of thinkers, makers, writers, readers, swimmers, speakers, and listeners. You can join us in person, at Ocean Space in Venice, or in the virtual oceans of our digital ecosystem.

Move Like the Ocean ~ ocean community gathering at Ocean Space
May 25–26, 2024

Join us at Ocean Space for Move Like the Ocean: an ocean community gathering delving into the looming threats to the deep sea and the collective motions to resist them. 

This May, we get together in Ocean Space, Venice, to move like the ocean and discuss some of the most pressing threats to the Ocean, its seabed, and its inhabitants. Community resistance, from the Pacific to the Caribbean, passing through Europe and the Americas, has been rising to question whether the human species should consider trespassing a boundary to get to a new age of extractivism at sea, or it should rather rethink its ways of co-existing with the Planet. 

Through a showcase of ideas and projects emerging from TBA21–Academy’s digital programming around the deep sea, including talks, a collective DJ set, and a collective reading session, over a Venetian weekend for a call for resistance that spans across the countless corners of the Ocean and those who live in it and love it.

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Meet Like the Ocean ~ online ocean community gathering
June 419, 2024

“While individually we may harbor an ability to heal ourselves, and others, togetherness is necessary for planetary healing to be brought into practice.'' – Olga Koroleva

Our online ocean comm/uni/ty is a digital space for togetherness around water and the ocean. Inspired by joy in practice, intention, and attention, across three weeks in June 2024, a series of online events will be led by members of the ocean comm/uni/ty, including workshops, film screenings, lightning talks, and meeting circles. 

Join in: come along to find out what’s happening around TBA21–Academy’s digital ecosystem, meet other artists, researchers, students, and ocean lovers, and share your practice, ideas, or work-in-progress. All events are free and open to existing and new members of the ocean comm/uni/ty. To sign up, first join the ocean comm/uni/ty; and sign up for events in the Calendar.

Ocean-Archive.org Digital Residency
Seafloor Futures

This year, Ocean-Archive.org features a new digital resident: Mae Lubetkin, an ocean scientist, writer, and artist, who has invited the ocean comm/uni/ty to collectively envision deep ocean futures through the transformation of seafloor 3D models in their project titled "Seafloor Futures: Science and Fictions in Deep Dimensions." Mae is curating a micro-database of the digital deep ocean on Ocean-Archive.org, which includes a collection of seafloor 3D models contributed by the broader ocean science community and new models that will be acquired while they are at sea on R/V Atlantis for a research expedition to the East Pacific Rise during the course of the residency. Guided by fieldwork, creative experimentation, and thinking with the more-than-human, Mae approaches making and writing through queer, anti-extractive, and decolonial frameworks.

On May 10, MMMAD Festival will host a presentation and conversation that will dive deeper into Mae’s residency focused on the deep ocean and 3D models of the seabed, as well as their scientific work, rooted in oceanography, volcanology, and imaging. The presentation will be followed by a workshop, taking place on May 12

The results of this residency will be presented on Ocean-Archive.org later in later this June - stay tuned for more information!

See more about the MMMAD programSee more about the residency


It's a wrap on OCEAN / UNI's Spring Semester 2024: Pacific Resistance! The 2023/2024 edition of the learning initiative was dedicated to Pacific inhabitation, imaginaries, and cultural legacies, as well as the looming threat of deep-sea mining. While we are in the process of archiving the sessions for their afterlife on Ocean-Archive.org, we invite you to dive into previous semesters,f like Fall 2022: Studies in Blue Agency, or dive into the podcast The Anglerfish Chronicles, hosted by Khadija Stewart. OCEAN / UNI will be back in the fall with another semester focused on aesthetic tools and strategies that connect us with the Ocean, such as improvisation and emancipation. Stay tuned!

Meandering on Ocean-Archive.org

This June, Meandering will become accessible via a digital interface on Ocean-Archive.org! The artistic research program Meandering (2021–23), curated by Sofia Lemos, unfolded the cultural, historical, spiritual, and ecological trajectories of waterways to cultivate the vitality of water, from source to sea. Inspired by how rivers bend and curve, connecting entire ecosystems, the program has taken an experiential and experimental approach to foster renewed sensibilities for social and environmental justice, commissioning artists to engage local agents in the region, to formulate a practical and poetic toolset for understanding our interdependence with the watershed. You will soon be able to explore the many streams of Meandering online via an interactive interface, featuring interviews with artists, performance trailers, curatorial essays, and more.


Call for PhD Candidates: MEDiverSEAty

How can we cultivate regenerative digital archives to advocate for Critical Ocean Literacy and mobilize toward collective action? MEDiverSEAty is launching a Doctoral Network Training and Research Program focusing on two pillars essential to contemporary marine sciences, policies, and education: Ocean Literacy and Marine Biodiversity Conservation. The PhD research will revolve around the case study of Ocean-Archive.org, TBA21's online platform that is designed as a tool for inter- and/or transdisciplinary research, translating current knowledge into a shared language that fosters synergy among art, science, policy, and conservation. We invite researchers with a human geography and/or a socio-cultural anthropology background and interested in artistic and/or design research infused with marine sciences and digital to actively work with the ecosystem of Ocean-Archive.org and to collaborate with its existing online ocean comm/uni/ty.

MEDiverSEAty is a European Doctoral Network investigating the human dimensions of Mediterranean Marine Biodiversity. Recognizing the significant scientific and social relevance of these dimensions, the project emphasizes areas such as marine citizen science, maritime spatial planning, marine heritage, and the economic values of marine biodiversity. The project is funded by HORIZON-TMA-MSCA-DN.

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Call for Artists: S+T+ARTS4WATER II

S+T+ARTS4WATERII is excited to announce the Call for Artists for the second edition of the S+T+ARTS Residency Program, which is dedicated to Water Sustainability and innovation at the nexus of Science, Technology, and the arts. This time, the program has a specific focus on the environmental challenges of ports, port cities, coastal areas, and waterways. TBA21 is organizing and hosting three residencies, designed around the themes of technodiversity, the food chain, and decentralized forms of governance. The central thread of our residencies is working with the interconnected ecosystem of the Venice Lagoon, exploring its liminal spaces, metabolisms, and the potential of new technologies for different forms of alliance with the human and more-than-human inhabitants of the Lagoon.

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