The Current I: The Kula Ring
Convening #1 led by Ute Meta Bauer
March 16 – March 17, 2016

TBA21 The Current Convening program in the making
AHF Jamaica

The starting point for the first TBA21 The Current Convening – to be held at the soon to be inaugurated art venue _space in Kingston, Jamaica – was an expedition in October 2015 led by international curator and educator Ute Meta Bauer. It brought the artists Laura Anderson Barbata (Mexico/US), Tue Greenfort (Denmark/Germany), Newell Harry (Australia), and Armin Linke (Germany/Italy) and NTU Centre for Contemporary Art PhD candidate Jegan Vincent de Paul (Canada/Singapore) to the Milne Bay region in Papua New Guinea. Taking as their point of departure the local tradition of the kula ring, a system of ceremonial gift exchange practiced by a number of tribal societies throughout the Trobriand Islands, the participants explored the negotiation of modalities of exchange between communities and cultures, as well as between cultures and the environment. The act of exchange can serve as a means of acknowledgment, agreement, or peacekeeping among groups of people. The unique format of the convening embraces interdisciplinary knowledge production in the form of dialogues, conversations, installations, and performances.
What Is a Convening?
Informed by the oceanic expeditions of its participants, TBA21 The Current Convenings are public presentations that take place over two to three days. The Convenings are envisioned as democratic and inclusive events, where the investigations and experiences of the expeditions leaders and participants can unfold in front of an audience in an experiential and participatory manner. During this first convening the focus is on the effects of the Anthropocene epoch and climate change, with a focus on the oceans.
The Current’s director, Markus Reymann, explains, “that each convening consists of academic and intellectual talks, performances, shared experiences, workshops, and more with the purpose of transforming audiences into collaborators. The aim is to create an experience that resonates with people from numerous disciplines across a range of demographics and age groups with a program that is inclusive of local audiences. An exploration of the global phenomenon of climate change is timely and urgent in Jamaica as well as around the world.”
The accompanying program will feature a series of lectures, workshops, and performances. Designed to stimulate, provoke, entertain, and create awareness, this unique gathering brings together architects, artists, designers, musicians, and scientists to encourage cross-disciplinary discussions on emerging topics related to the ocean.
“Confronting challenges and discussing solutions will be at the core of this new ideas festival,” says TBA21 founder and chairwoman Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza. “This open think tank goes beyond disciplinary boundaries and formats to forge new alliances and educational platforms and envision new ways of creative thinking and entrepreneurship. The objectives of this ambitious program in Jamaica are manifold: to reflect upon and evaluate the imprint we create in the world that we occupy and subjugate, to respond with a creative spirit and a constructive exchange, and to share knowledge in order to address these vast challenges.”
_space, 10A West Kings House Road,
Kingston, Jamaica
March 16–17, 2016
Laura Anderson Barbata with the Brooklyn Jumbies, in collaboration with choreographer Chris Walker (Jamaica / USA) and dancers from the National Ballet of Jamaica. Architect Nabil Ahmed (UK); Amina Blackwood Meeks, custodian of the oral tradition and performer, Jamaica; University of the West Indies cultural studies scholar Professor Carolyn Cooper (Jamaica); Cat Coore, musician and Mutabaruka, dub-poet (Jamaica); artist Tue Greenfort (Denmark / Switzerland); Cyrill Gutsch, Founder of Parley for the Oceans; TED Fellow and Halls of Learning founder Marvin G. Hall (Jamaica); artist Newell Harry (Australia); MIT Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences program oceanographer Professor Patrick Heimbach (Germany / USA); artist and filmmaker Professor Armin Linke (Italy / Germany); physician, artist and environmentalist Oskar Metsavaht (Brazil); electronic musician and composer Mika Vainio (Finland/Norway); Professor Lucy Orta, artist and Chair of Art in the Environment University of the Arts London (France/UK); writer Annie Paul (Jamaica); and art writer and curator Filipa Ramos (Portugal / UK),  joined by Ute Meta Bauer, Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza, and Markus Reymann.