Lopud Seminar – The Forgotten Space
September 8–11, 2016 | Lopud Island, Croatia.

© Allan Sekula, Fish Story Chapter Three: Middle Passage, 1994

The Forgotten Space, TBA21’s seminar taking place on the Croatian island of Lopud, borrows its title and part of its conceptual framework from the work and legacy of the artist Allan Sekula (1951–2013). The name is a specific reference to Sekula and Noël Burch’s 2010 film and publication The Forgotten Space, which explores the precarious geopolitical configurations and labor relations active on our seas and in ports and harbor nexuses, which, almost invisibly, manage the shipment and distribution of goods throughout our globalized world. Sekula’s work is a starting point for an expanded thematic exploration, enabling ideas, various fields of expertise, and experiences to drift, travel, shift, and float—across disciplines and between artists, curators, architects, scientists, explorers, and thinkers.
Since summer 2005 TBA21 has been holding seminars and debate sessions on the Croatian island of Lopud. Conceived to create an impetus for innovation, dialogue, and exchange by interconnecting different agendas and practices the Lopud Seminars negotiate relevant issues regarding art, architecture, ecology, institutional practice, and preservation. The debate sessions, held in small groups, not only reexamine and correct the institutional course but also open it up to transdisciplinary evaluation and activity.
The 2016 seminar sets out to explore the figure of the ‘absent’ or forgotten space in relation to the seas and oceans; and the underlying imaginary implicit in the gestures and narrations of disappearance, sublimation, and disembodiment. We argue that this imaginary allows for the dramatic scenarios of aquatic life decimation, marine pollution, human trafficking, labor abuse, and misuse of marine resources that we are facing today. This contemporary condition is linked to the cultural history of the oceans, which is marked by multiple forms of exploitation along well-established trade routes, by powerful scenarios of fear, by the construction of myth, and by the extensive colonization of seemingly unregulated spaces. This history is overshadowed by the current and past function of the ocean(s) as a route for migration, deportation, and exile, specifically within the context of the Mediterranean and the tragedies that we are currently witnessing with the tide of refugees attempting to reach Europe.
Like much of TBA21’s recent activity, particularly within the framework of TBA21 The Current, The Forgotten Space asks difficult questions about the state of the world and seeks to critique and propose possible approaches to some of the complex questions of our globalized age. The Lopud Seminar thus serves as a linchpin, pulling and holding together various threads, from both the past and the future of TBA21’s trajectory, inaugurating an explicit linkage between The Current–which has been on the forefront of environmental research focusing on the oceans—and an exhibition planned for 2017 at TBA21–Augarten, which will showcase the work of Allan Sekula and bring his critical framework to the surface of artistic and intellectual debate.

Lopud Island, Croatia
September 8–11, 2016
Nabil Ahmed, Atif Akin, Maayan Amir, Tuan Andrew Nguyen, Ute Meta Bauer, Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Tyler Coburn, Kodwo Eshun, Cesar Garcia,  Mario García Torres,  Carles Guerra Rojas, Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza, Stefanie Hessler, Andrés Jaque, Celina Jeffery, Chus Martínez, Moro, Sandor Mulsow, Ingo Niermann, Boris Ondreička, Trevor Paglen, Bran Quinquis, Filipa Ramos, Hani Rashid,  Markus Reymann, Anjalika Sagar, Ruti Sela, Ina Steiner, Davor Vidas, Daniela Zyman
TBA21 The Current
The oceans are the source and base of human life, yet we expose them to increasing stress. In our everyday discourse, they are treated as an object without interest or needs. In this panel we will explore and unfold a hypothetical future where the oceans are the center of the debate.
Oceans – Archeology & Preservation
What are the tools of exploring the ocean and what are tools of its judgment? A methodology on how to deal with the findings about the Oceans and the ways humans interact with it is yet to be defined. How can we use the knowledge gained? And how can ancestral knowledge be put in the context of an increasingly technological and globalized reality of the 21st century?
Oceans – Exterritory / Extraterritory / Extrastatecraft
This panel explores the concequences of divergent legal frameworks, practices of exploitation, neglect, and appropriation and the complicated, conflicting, and overlapping statuses and disputes currently at work on and around the oceans affecting sovereign and rogue nations, transnationals, and individuals alike. Topics and case studies to be explored include Exterritory, the project by panelists Ruti Sela and Maayan Amir, which exploits the regulations of sovereignty in order to enable critical artistic projects; and extrastatecraft, the diagnostic concept developed by the architect Keller Easterling, which explores the globalized condition of infrastructure space. Through these and other examples the panel will define term to attempt to establish resistance strategies effective both within and outside of (trans-)national jurisdiction.
Oceans – Exchange
The oceans are no longer a surface but have gained depth - their darkness has been illuminated, revealing their biodiversity while unraveling a realm of geopolitical and economic endgames. This has given mankind the possibility to perceive the complexity of the ocean as an ecological and economical space. How does this newly gained knowledge alter our perception of the relationship between humans and the oceans?

The Forgotten Space of Allen Sekula
The Forgotten Space of Allan Sekula gathers practitioners with diverse areas of expertise (curatorial, archival, personal, artistic) relating to the work and person of Allan Sekula. Based on a series of unpublished drawings and notes from Sekula's extensive notebooks, selected and edited by the archivist Ina Steiner and photo historian Sally Stein, the panel attempts to introduce Sekula's ideas and their evolution in the context of the maritime space—from the social relations within maritime systems, to the impact on ecology, economy, trade, but also its poetics and their relationship to the image and to photography
Oceans-Travelscapes, Circulations & Mapping
This conversation centers around The Propeller Group’s explorations into how we may re-think the representation of spatio-temporal relationships. Mapping is both a science and an art form, a process through which space is translated from the realm of the sensorial and the cognitive into a multiplicity of forms of representation. In a broader sense, mapping is a process of image-making and a compelling metaphor to explore histories of knowledge-making.
Oceans – Dreamscapes & Nightmares
The title Dreamscapes and Nightmares paraphrases that of a collection of short stories by Stephen King, Nightmares and Dreamscapes (1993). Made up of five sequences, Dreamscapes and Nightmares brings together the poetic and the political
to speculate on (oceanic) civilizations from retrofuturistic, Afrofuturistic, and futuristic points of view. Dreamscapes and Nightmares binds together synapses of myth, religion, historical and scientific facts, fictions and speculations, fantasies and hallucinations in order to propose a new (possibly non-Western) cosmology of what might be our oceanic or even extraterrestrial future.