Biennale Opening program at Ocean Space
May 20 – May 22, 2021
Ocean Space, Venice

Photo: Enrico Fiorese.
Photo: Enrico Fiorese.

Photo: Enrico Fiorese.

Photo: Enrico Fiorese.


2021 marks the tenth anniversary of TBA21–Academy's activity as a contemporary art organization and cultural ecosystem fostering a deeper relationship to the Ocean through the lens of art to inspire care and action. For a decade, we have been an incubator for collaborative research, artistic production, and new forms of knowledge by combining art and science, resulting in exhibitions, research, and policy interventions. After years of itinerant practice, the Academy has found its home in Venice, in Chiesa di San Lorenzo, now known as Ocean Space. 

This year, Ocean Space is a temporary home to two exhibitions that tell a story of the contemporary ocean from very different perspectives, coexisting side by side, entangled through sonic embraces. This has always been our intention – for Ocean Space to act as a cultural hub open for all, built on an ethos of interdisciplinary practice and dedicated to nurturing a polyvocal community, holding divergent, yet complementary positions on the most pressing issues of our time. At the same time, it is a space steeped in the history, culture, and waters of Venice. Tending to its surrounding communities and ecologies, Ocean Space seeks to amplify local issues so that they reverberate far beyond the expanse of the church itself and into global dialogues. 

From Thursday, May 20 to Saturday, May 22, coinciding with the opening of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, TBA21–Academy's Ocean Space reactivates its local and digital community with three days of dedicated public programming springing from all streams of our activity - from exhibitions, publications, and conversations, to presentations of the Academy's core programs, such as the Ocean Fellowship and The Current, as well as  activities created by and for the local community, sensing the sounds, shapes, and flavors of the lagoon. 

The program departs from a reflection on the ability of design to inspire consciences and guide habits with Design in Practice and then nods to the history of the space as a pavilion through Ark Re-Imagined, a collaboration with the first-ever Iraqi National Pavilion at the Architecture Biennale. Following on, it will expand upon the complex interconnections of the global oceans through the publication Oceans Rising, touch upon the very nature of Ocean Space with Sky Within Us and explore the edible components of the lagoon as agents of a culinary, political and philosophical discourse on the relationship between humans and the spaces they inhabit with A Live Pantry For a Community in Fermentation. It also brings Venice in dialogue with the Pacific through The Other Side of Air, a collaborative live-stream by Taloi Havini and Ben Hakalitz, continues with the creation of a "liquid soundbook" of Venetian voices with Nowtilus, and brings about the notion of simply gathering and Breathing together with the participants of the 2021 Ocean Fellowship. Therefore, the question of cohabitation posed by the Biennale also serendipitously frames the activities of TBA21–Academy and Ocean Space, focusing on how we can enhance life together, human and more-than-human, with the ocean and with all its complex, multivocal entanglements. 

Online booking via Eventbrite is mandatory on weekends and holidays at least one day prior to the visit. No booking required on weekdays. Please see in order to organize your visit according to the latest COVID-19 restrictions in Italy. 
Free entrance.

Note on Covid-19 compliance
In accordance with regulations, we are limiting the capacity of Ocean Space to ensure visitor safety. Masks must be worn inside Ocean Space (properly covering both nose and mouth) and hands must be sanitized with the provided sanitizer upon entrance. A temperature check will also be carried out at the entrance.
Please register via Eventbrite for on-site attendance.
Part of the program will be livestreamed via and Facebook Live. Please see below for details.
May 20, 2ß21, 10.30 am
Design in Practice
talk with Joe Velluto Design Studio, philosopher and curator Leonardo Caffo, Cristiano Seganfreddo, Director of Flash Art.
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May 20, 2021, 6pm
Ark Re-Imagined - The Expeditionary Pavillion
Inaugural Conversation with Rashad Salim and Markus Reymann, Director of TBA21–Academy. Introduction by Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza, TBA21 Founder and Chairwoman, and George Richards, Director of Community Jameel. 
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May 21, 2021, 10am
Oceans Rising. A Companion to Territorial Agency: Oceans in Transformation, Book Launch Conversation
With Astrida Neimanis, Territorial Agency (John Palmesino and Ann-Sofi Rönnskog), Mark Williams, and Jan Zalasiewicz (via zoom). Respondents: Barbara Casavecchia, Pietro Consolandi, Elisa Giuliano, Markus Reymann, Studio Folder, Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza, Daniela Zyman (onsite at Ocean Space).
Live-streamed on & Facebook Live
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May 21, 2021, 5pm
Sky Within Us
A conversation about The Soul Expanding Ocean, The Current, and the very nature of Ocean Space with curator Chus Martínez and Markus Reymann, Director of TBA21–Academy. 
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May 21, 2021, 7 pm
A Live Pantry For a Community in Fermentation
With Marco Bravetti. Part of Lagoon Micro-Ecologies. Venice as a Model for The Future?, curated by Barbara Casavecchia and Pietro Consolandi.
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May 22, 2021, 12 pm
The Other Side of the Air
A walkthrough through “Answer to the Call” with musician Ben Hakalitz and artist Taloi Havini. Broadcasted from Ben Hakalitz's studio.
Live-streamed on & Facebook Live
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May 22, 2021, 6 pm
Nowtilus: A Liquid Songbook 
Presentation by curators Alice Ongaro Sartori & Enrico Bettinello and a capella performance by D'AltroCanto Duo & Maria Bergamo.
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May 22, 2021, 7 pm
Breathing Together. Introducing the Ocean Fellowship 2021
An aural-graphic introduction of the 2021 Ocean Fellows, reflecting on the spirit of fellowship and their plural, polyphonic approaches towards story-telling as plot device.
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