Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21) in Vienna, Austria, has dedicated the next year to raising awareness about the world’s oceans, inhabitants and cultural history through the arts. TBA21 has a wide-ranging collection of contemporary artworks including film, sound and mixed-media installations, sculpture, painting, photography, and performance.
TBA21 Year of the Oceans will develop public understanding of our oceans, seas and coastal areas, which together form an essential part of the global life-support system. The oceans are a significant source of food, energy and minerals, which also harbor significant economic potential. A massive international effort is necessary to protect our marine environment, requiring a profound understanding of the interaction between oceans and people. To advance this goal, TBA21 will take part in or host events each month that invite artists, scientists and local communities to share their ideas and knowledge as well as imagine and create new forms of living, thinking and caring for our oceans.
The International Seabed Authority recently granted TBA21 official observer status. It is the only arts organization worldwide with this designation. The United Nations, the World Bank, WWF, Greenpeace and the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition among others share this status.
TBA21 Year of the Oceans kicks off in December 2016 with the second “Convening for the Current.” This event will unite local communities and artists for 3 days of structured conversations, workshops, performances and screenings at Fort Kochi on the opening of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2016, an international exhibition of contemporary art.
Activities will include:
Kochi Convening: December 13 to 15, 2016 – Organised by TBA21, the Convening offers 3 days of structured conversations, workshops, performances, talks and screenings.
The Current Expedition: January 2017 – Artists, curators and scientists take part in a 10- to 14-day expedition aboard the Dardanella.
Allan Sekula, Okeanos: 21 February to 14 May 2017 – Explore the oceans via American photographer, writer, filmmaker, theorist and critic Allan Sekula.
Susanne Winterling at the Contour Biennial: March 11 to May 21, 2017 – The work of Susanne Wintering will be featured at the Contour Biennial of Moving Image in Mechelen, Belgium.
Tidalectics – The Current Exhibition: June 2 to mid-August 2017 – An exhibition that proposes a new mode of engagement with the oceans, revealing how our historical, cultural, biological and spiritual histories are closely connected to the oceans and how our future is deeply entangled with that of the sea.
Ephemeropteræ: June to September 2017 – The sixth season of TBA21’s spoken-word performance series takes place in the TBA21 Augarten. Exploring the rich traditions of poetry, literature, performance, philosophy and language-based artistic practice.
International Rising Sea Levels Conference: September 2017 – A group from TBA21 will attend the International Rising Sea Levels conference in Lopud, Dubrovnik.
Your Black Horizon’s 10th Anniversary: September 2017 – An opportunity to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Your Black Horizon, an installation created by Olafur Eliasson and David Adjaye for the TBA21 Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2005 and moved to the Croatian island of Lopud in 2007.
Atopia: August 18 to 19, 2017 – An exhibition that explores the idea of oceans as a space without territorial borders will be presented at the MAC in Lima, Peru.
John Akomfrah at the Barbican: October 2017 – The work of artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah will be presented at the Barbican in London.
Founded in 2002 by Francesca von Habsburg in Vienna, Austria, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21) represents the fourth generation of the Thyssen family’s commitment to the arts. The foundation is dedicated to supporting ambitious, experimental and unconventional projects that defy traditional categorizations. TBA21 promotes social and environmental practices, interdisciplinary investigations of the pressing issues of contemporary life. After more than 14 years of collecting, commissioning projects and engaged exhibition practice, TBA21 has established a highly respected collection of more than 700 contemporary artworks including film, sound and mixed-media installations, sculpture, painting, photography, and performance. This approach has gained the collection a pioneering reputation throughout the world. In 2015, von Habsburg decided to dedicate the foundation’s ongoing program to becoming an agent of change by focusing on the complexities and urgencies of the age of Anthropocene as well as today’s pressing challenges caused by climate change, with a special focus on marine ecosystems.
TBA21–Academy is the exploratory soul of Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, and an itinerant site of cultural production and interdisciplinary research. Conceived as a moving platform on the oceans, it brings together thinkers from various fields concerned with today’s most urgent ecological, social and economic issues. Through its expeditions on sea and land, TBA21–Academy seeks to reinvent the culture of exploration in the 21st century, while inciting new knowledge, communicative strategies and dynamic solutions for environmental challenges facing the world we inhabit.
The past year saw further international engagement by TBA21–Academy, occupying the space between the spheres of contemporary arts, science, conservation and policy. In 2016, the Academy repeatedly demonstrated its strengthened stance on the stage of the international global climate change agenda, an engagement that started by launching The Current at COP21 in Paris in 2015. Besides co-hosting the Lopud Seminar, TBA21–Academy presented its work at 11 high-level conferences in 2016, including the IUCN conference in Hawaii, the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission in Ispra and on the main stage on Earth Day in Dallas, Texas. In June of 2016, TBA21–Academy was granted the Observer Status at the International Seabed Authority, becoming the first art organization with this status. This allows TBA21–Academy to contribute to the international climate change agenda on a policy-making level.