Territorial Agency: Oceans in Transformation

Curated by Daniela Zyman

ExhibitionMay 3 2021 through August 29 202110 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Commissioned by TBA21–Academy and co-produced with  Luma Foundation.

TBA21–Academy is 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 understanding by combining art, science, and other knowledge systems, intertwining imagination and possibility in regenerative relationships, resulting in exhibitions, research, and policy interventions.

Ocean Space is a new planetary center for catalyzing ocean literacy, research, and advocacy through the arts. Established and led by TBA21–Academy and building on its expansive work over the past ten years, this new embassy for the oceans fosters engagement and collective action on the most pressing issues facing the oceans today. Opened in March of 2019, Ocean Space is inhabiting the Church of San Lorenzo in Venice.

The Schmidt Ocean Institute was established in 2009 and offers scientists and collaborating institutions free ship time aboard their research vessel Falkor. The Institute strives to advance the frontiers of ocean research and exploration through technological innovation, operational support, and open sharing of information. Schmidt Ocean Institute’s Artist-at-Sea program was established in 2015 so that artists from broad disciplines could work together with scientists to gain inspiration from the research and share about complex ocean issues in new ways. Since 2015, over 36 artists have voyaged aboard the research vessel Falkor, and more than 100 pieces have been showcased in 16 exhibits in 12 cities.  

Taloi Havini (b. 1981, Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea) currently lives and works in Sydney, Australia. Havini’s work is often a personal response to the politics of location, exploring contested sites and histories connected within Oceania, employing photography, sculpture, immersive video, and mixed-media installations. Working with living contemporary practitioners, she is actively involved in community projects in Bougainville and Australia. 

Havini’s artwork is held in public and private collections, including the Sharjah Art Foundation, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Queensland Art Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art, National Gallery of Victoria, KADIST, San Francisco, CA, USA. Taloi holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the Canberra School of Art, Australian National University and has exhibited in Palais de Tokyo, Paris, Sharjah Biennial 13, UAE, 3rd Aichi Triennial, Nagoya, 8th & 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art Queensland Art Gallery, GoMA, Brisbane.

Chus Martínez is head of the Art Institute at the FHNW Academy of Arts and Design in Basel, and in 2021-22, the Curator of Ocean Space, Venice, TBA21–Academy’s center for catalyzing ocean literacy, research, and advocacy through the arts. Previously, she led The Current II (2018–20), a project initiated by TBA21–Academy. The Current is the inspiration behind Art is Ocean, a series of seminars and conferences held at the Art Institute which examines the role of artists in the conception of a new experience of nature.

Territorial Agency is an independent organization that combines architecture, analysis, advocacy, and action for integrated spatial transformation of contemporary territories, founded by the architects Ann-Sofi Rönnskog and John Palmesino. Territorial Agency is engaged to strengthen the capacity of local and international communities in comprehensive spatial transformation in an age of climate change—the Anthropocene. Recent projects include Museum of Oil with Greenpeace, ZKM Karlsruhe, and the Chicago Architecture Biennial; Anthropocene Observatory with HKW Haus der Kulturen der Welt Berlin; the Museum of Infrastructural Unconscious; North anon; Unfinishable Markermeer; Kiruna. They teach at the AA Architectural Association School of Architecture, London.

Daniela Zyman is the curator of the exhibition “Territorial Agency: Oceans in Transformation” and chief curator and artistic director of Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21). The organization’s mission is to commission, collect, and present the best of contemporary art through an ambitious program of exhibitions and events and to pursue urgent ecological, social, and political issues. Zyman joined TBA21 in 2003 and has played an instrumental role in shaping its exhibition and commissions program. Between 1995 and 2001, Zyman was chief curator of the MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art in Vienna, which included the founding and programming of the MAK Center for Art and Architecture in Los Angeles.

“Territorial Agency: Oceans in Transformation”, exhibition view at Ocean Space, Venice, 2020. “Territorial Agency: Oceans in Transformation” is commissioned by TBA21−Academy and co-produced with Luma Foundation. Enrico Fiorese