The Current II: To Find The Vegan Lion
Expedition #1 led by Chus Martínez
March 9 – March 24, 2018
New Zealand

White Island, Photo: Claudia Comte, 2018
Eduardo Navarro, "Dreaming Dreams Dream Oceans While They Sleep", 2018
Julieta Aranda, "The Last Day", 2018

Chus Martinez begins a three-year cycle as Expedition Leader of The Current with an expedition through New Zealand's North Islands

"I decided to name this three-year cycle on artistic intelligence, philosophy, science and nature the Spheric Ocean. The Ocean is spherical because it is not beside the earth nor below it, but all around it. Its form is not what our eyes see, or not only. Its reality cannot be separated nor told apart from anything else on the lived earth, and therefore it poses a demand on us: the need for a philosophy to help us exercise the Ocean. It is difficult to describe what we are aiming for. I would say we are aiming for a philosophy more than anything else. It would be wrong to think that when one says “Ocean,” one is naming a “subject.” One could be as radical as stating that to say “Ocean” is, today, to say “art.” Art without the burden of institutional life, without the ideological twists of cultural politics, art as a practice that belongs and should belong to the artists, art facing the urgency of socializing with all those that care about life. Or, in other words, to say “Ocean” is to replace the historical notion of the avant-garde with a code that is not determined by form and the invention of new gestures, but by an investigation of the substance of life, identifying this as the mission of art. 

At first sight there are “things” that can only be described in positive terms, like the Ocean. It is beautiful how some experiences of nature—of the Ocean—remind us that to live means first and foremost to feel the world around us. But sensibility is not just a faculty, sensibility is much more than that: it is an organ that both senses ourselves and others, and our life is through and through a sensible life. So, being at sea, I cannot but think of the many ways we need to—we must—rehabilitate sensible existence from its marginalization at the hands of modern philosophy, art, and politics and that the only way to do so is to create the conditions for philosophy, art, and politics by defining the ontological status of experience, of organic and inorganic intelligence.

The Ocean is making me aware of its philosophical status. Being at sea is being in an atmosphere, and being in an atmosphere is a very powerful image of thought, one that immediately calls for a challenge of the distribution of disciplines in the human sciences and humanities. I imagine a philosophy of the Ocean, a philosophy of plants, a philosophy of animals, as part of a philosophy of life that will, then, be entangled with all the developments in the philosophy of consciousness. I know that many think action is first, but how can we act differently if we are unable to deeply think/sense differently? Logically speaking, no real difference can emerge from a doing that only perpetuates or corrects and reforms past doing. Also, how can doing be separated from Modernity’s stubborn pretension to see the human spirit as achieved only through the material production of objects and their exchange, that is, material culture? So, doing cannot survive without an Ocean of conditions for biological existence… I see all this water and feel a monstrous urge to reunite all thinkers and artists to meet here and start this new school of sensing intelligence. 

And the next question arises: is the Ocean an art space? Or a future space within the arts? We will be addressing this paradoxical question at The Current Convening and Summer School we are organizing in Venice, in the last week of September." 

—Chus Martínez

With thanks to the Art Institute in Basel, HGK, FHNW.
North Islands, New Zealand
Julieta Aranda
Claudia Comte
Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza
Eduardo Navarro
Ingo Niermann
Markus Reymann
Albert Serra
Teresa Solar

Roman Bayarri 
To Find A Vegan Lion
Please click here.
Read the original announcement on e-flux here.


We also invite you to watch 'Oceaneering', a film directed by Albert Serra, which documents 'Spheric Ocean: To Find the Vegan Lion.' The film uses a conceptual framework to provide an overview of the daily activities carried out by the expedition participants with an insight into their thoughts and feelings while embarking on the journey.