Press Release

TBA21–Academy to Launch “Ocean Space” In Newly Restored Church of San Lorenzo, Venice, in Summer 2019

Venice, Italy
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Global platform for cross-disciplinary explorations catalyzing ocean literacy, research, and advocacy through the arts

Major multi-media commission Armin Linke: Prospecting Ocean opens May 23, 2018 at Institute of Marine Sciences (CNR-ISMAR) in Venice in prelude to next year’s launch

Francesca von Habsburg, Founder and Executive Producer of TBA21–Academy, today announced the opening of Ocean Space in summer 2019. Ocean Space will serve as an ideas accelerator for TBA21–Academy, a nomadic academy that fosters collaboration among artists, scientists, policy makers, and frontline leadership from climate-change hotspots in cross-disciplinary explorations, catalyzing ocean literacy, research, and advocacy through the arts. Headquartered in the newly restored Church of San Lorenzo in Venice, Ocean Space will provide facilities for installations, performances, workshops, archives, and research for TBA21–Academy and the organizations across the globe with which it collaborates. 

Ocean Space will both extend and build upon the work of TBA21–Academy, which was founded in 2011. Recent initiatives organized by the non-collecting, non-profit organization have included:

  • The launch of the second cycle of The Current, the Academy’s signature exploratory fellowship program that fosters joint research and knowledge-production by artists, scientists, and indigenous leadership from such climate-change harbinger nations as Tonga, Papua New Guinea, and New Zealand. The leaders of the current three-year program are artist collective SUPERFLEX and curator Chus Martínez.
  • The organization of cross-disciplinary workshops and programs in conjunction with major international policy-setting conferences, including the first United Nations Oceans Conference in New York and UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn. These events have drawn together such artists as Joan Jonas and Mark Dion; scientists Walter Munk and Sylvia Earle; policy makers Thomas Remengesau, Jr. President of Palau, and Kalani English, Majority Leader of the Hawaii State Legislature. 
  • The ongoing international tour of Tidalectics, TBA21–Academy’s first exhibition providing an oceanic worldview and featuring work by some 20 artists, including Doug Aitken, Tue Greenfort, Janaina Tschape, and Julian Charrière—many of which resulted from the artists’ travels with TBA21–Academy. The exhibition opens at the Museum of Modern of Art Dubrovnik and the Franciscan Monastery of Lopud in early July 2018 In addition, TBA21–Academy and MIT Press co-published a compendium of research surrounding Tidalectics, including seminal essays by Epeli Hau‘ofa, Stefan Helmreich, Elizabeth A. Povinelli, and Philip E. Steinberg, among others.
  • Commissioning of major new works of art, including Purple by John Akomfrah, an immersive installation exploring climate change, rising sea levels, and extreme weather events in the age of the Anthropocene, which premiered at the Barbican in London in fall 2017; and the investigative exhibition Prospecting Ocean by Armin Linke, opening in coordination with the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale at the Institute of Marine Sciences of the National Research Council of Italy (CNR-ISMAR), which investigates the tension between ecological protection of our oceans and their political and economic exploitation. 

“With its emphasis on processes, research, and transdisciplinary co-creation, TBA21–Academy sparks new approaches to addressing the urgent challenges surrounding our ocean and aims to inspire participation and solution finding,” stated Director Markus Reymann. “We are creating the Ocean Space to serve as a Global Commons, a place that synthesizes a range of knowledge systems and welcomes a wide range of disciplines and the general public to jointly imagine a radically different future on our planet.” 

“We selected Venice as the global port for TBA21–Academy as it has long been a center for international exchange. Historically, the city served as a critical link between Europe and some of the furthest places around the world though trade and the navigation of the high seas. Today, Venice’s Biennales and festivals convene leading artists, architects, and filmmakers from around the world, which, in turn, attract great audiences in an incredible exchange of ideas. At the same time, Venice suffers from many of same problems that other nations are struggling with—rising sea levels—which directly connects it with the islands throughout the Pacific, where many of our programs are focused,” stated von Habsburg. 

Further details about Ocean Space’s inaugural program and facilities will be shared in the coming months. 



Founded by Francesca von Habsburg and drawing on her experience as a producer of cross-disciplinary art installations and socially engaged cultural programming, TBA21–Academy leads artists, scientists, and thought-leaders on expeditions of collaborative discovery. Its mission is to foster a deeper understanding of our ocean through the lens of art and to engender creative solutions to its most pressing issues. Led by Director Markus Reymann, the itinerant Academy commissions interdisciplinary research that catalyzes engagement, stimulates new knowledge, and inspires artistic production. TBA21–Academy’s program is informed by a belief in the power of exchange between disciplines and in the ability of the arts as a vessel for communication, change, and action. Established in 2011, TBA21–Academy is a non-profit, non-collecting research organization, supported by individuals, foundations, universities, government agencies, and corporate philanthropies.


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