IN A new initiative launched by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, artists and scientists convene to tackle the plight of the world’s oceans. Coastal and marine environments provide a vital source of food and energy but overfishing, rising mercury levels and unregulated activities such as shark-finning have led to their decline. The project, TBA21 Year of the Oceans aims to raise public awareness about these dangers through a series of events which will continue throughout the coming year.
The programme begins next week with the second phase of The Covening, an ongoing project of workshops, film screenings and performances which will coincide with the opening of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2016, an international exhibition of contemporary art. Further events include a two week expedition for artists, curators and scientists aboard TBA21’s research vessel, the Dardanella and an exhibition, Tidalectics which highlights our close affinity with the sea and its rich history.
Francesca von Habsburg, a collector and keen scuba diver founded TBA21 in 2002 and is well known for her unconventional approach to curation and highly original projects which work outside traditional institutional practice. The only arts organisation to gain accreditation from the International Seabed Authority, TBA21 has supported projects for social and environmental causes in Fiji, Iceland, the Galapagos Islands, the South Pacific and the Caribbean Sea. The academy’s collaboration with National Geographic explorer, David Gruber led to the discovery of the Hawksbill Turtle, the first glow in the dark marine reptile to be found by scientists.
In 2014 an extraordinary project took place in the shark-infested waters near Costa Rica. Habsburg sailed out with a team of scientists to the Cocos Islands where a treasure chest containing artwork by Maria Abramovich was buried out to sea. The co-ordinates of the secret location were engraved on a state of the art steel cylinder designed by Dutch artist, Constant Dulaart and placed within a replica of the chest. The replica was later sold at auction and the proceeds were used to fund a new research and shark conservation project.
by Miranda Charalambous
Front page image: Courtesy of Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary
Tags: Caribbean > conservation > Constant Dulaart > curators > Dardanella > Dutch > exhibition > expedition > film > Francesca von Habsburg > Iceland > Kochi-Murziris Biennale > Maria Abramovich > National Geographic > oceans > performances > research > scientists > South Pacific > TBA21 > Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary > workshops