Help us develop our program and catalyze critical ocean literacy by donating below

Skip to navigation Skip to main content


2.6 Against / currents. Big ships, skate ramps, and renewed activism




With Marco Baravalle (curator, activist, S.a.L.E. Docks, Comitato No Grandi Navi - Laguna Bene Comune), Francesca Guarnotta (student, activist, Venice Calls), Andrea Curtoni and Giulia Mazzorin (architects, Biennale Urbana)


Available on Ocean-Archive.org and TBA21–Academy Radio (SoundCloud, Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts)


Download here

The sixth episode of “Nowtilus. Stories from an urban lagoon in the 21st century” is entitled “Against / currents. Big ships, skate ramps, and renewed activism”, focusing on acts of cultural regeneration and defending the lagoon environment.

We will be exploring practices and experiences relating to safeguarding, defending, and reimagining the city that have spontaneously arisen from the city’s unique dynamics, independently from institutional projects. As is the case in every city, over the years Venice has also seen the rise of projects, associations, groups, and committees that task themselves with tackling the needs of the urban and environmental fabric, filling the gap left by the institutional and political apparatus in vulnerable areas, where, either by choice or through carelessness, they don’t appear to be offering the right support.

Among the many stories that the lagoon can offer, we have decided to give a platform to those of Marco Baravalle, who tells us about both the foundation and mission of S.a.L.E. Docks, and the “Comitato No Grandi Navi - Laguna Bene Comune” which has managed to catalyze the strength of citizens, echoing all around the world; Francesca Guarnotta, who talks about the young volunteers and activists from Venice Calls, who help the city in everyday emergencies, no matter how large or small; and finally Andrea Curtoni and Giulia Mazzorin, also known as

Biennale Urbana, who tell us the stories of two examples of urban regeneration that are still particularly relevant to this day: the Marinoni Theater and the Caserma del Pepe barracks on the Lido.

The episode is available in Italian on Ocean-Archive.org and on TBA21–Academy Radio on SoundCloud, Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.

“Nowtilus. Stories from an urban lagoon in the 21st century” is a podcast produced by Ocean Space, Venice, for TBA21–Academy Radio. Music by Enrico Coniglio.


Each episode of the second season of Nowtilus. Stories from an urban lagoon in the 21st century! is accompanied by Nowtilus Plus, a document with a bibliography, related images, and an in-depth analysis of the content discussed by the guests aboard.

Check out the material from the sixth episode:


Marco Baravalle is a researcher, curator and activist. He is a research fellow at the Iuav University of Venice within the project “INCOMMON. In praise of community. Shared creativity in arts and politics in Italy (1959-1979)”. He is part of the S.a.L.E Docks collective, which manages an activist space for contemporary arts in Venice, and is a member of the Institute of Radical Imagination, an international network of artists, scholars, curators and activists dedicated to experimentation and research into the intertwining of aesthetics and politics in contemporary society. He is the author of the book “L'autunno caldo del curatore. Arte, neoliberismo Pandemia” (Marsilio, 2021).


S.a.L.E. DOCKS is an independent space for contemporary arts founded in 2007 by a group of activists occupying one of the warehouses of the Magazzini del Sale, a long disused space in the heart of Venice. Since then, its aim has been to overturn the processes of privatization of cultural heritage. S.a.L.E. DOCKS seeks to do this by addressing a number of issues: the relationship between the significant capital invested in art and the endemic precariousness of work in the cultural space, the neoliberal use of art as a device for capturing subversive thought and imagination, and the links between art, finance, income, and gentrification. S.a.L.E. works on different but intertwined levels. It is a space open to local cultural organizations, while simultaneously curating international cultural projects. S.a.L.E. organizes seminars, exhibitions, workshops, research and public events that experiment with alternative models of cultural production, contrary to the logic of neoliberalism.


The “No Grandi Navi - Laguna Bene Comune” committee is a historic citizen-led Venetian oragnization. Since 2012, the year in which the Costa Concordia ran aground off the island of Giglio, killing 32 people, the committee has fought to ban cruise ships from the Venice lagoon. The name “Comitato No Grandi Navi - Laguna Bene Comune”, deliberately makes reference to the lagoon, because Venice cannot exist without a healthy and balanced lagoon to defend it. For this reason, removing large ships from the San Marco Basin, or reducing their number by half is not enough: cruise ships must be completely excluded from the lagoon to allow the real hydrodynamic and morphological recovery work to begin.


Francesca Guarnotta was born along the Piave river almost twenty-five years ago. The course of the river led her to the Venice lagoon, where she now lives and studies. Since 2020 she has been reading for the recently created master's degree in Environmental Humanities, which offers abundant food for thought, in particular regarding the surrounding lagoon, along with its animals and other strange creatures. Even before arriving in the city, she became a member of “Venice Calls”, an association that allowed her to discover Venice through the people who inhabit and love the city, finding her place in educational activities, helping to organize a series of conferences on environmental and social issues. She didn’t think she wanted to live on this island, but she’s now finding it hard to leave.


Venice Calls APS is a social association that works online by bringing people, organizations, and institutions together to create and support projects that aim to make Venice a more sustainable and innovative city. The organization was started in 2019 by a group of young people who wanted to create an independent platform that allowed them to join forces for the sake of the city, which is facing increasingly difficult environmental, social, and economic challenges.

Andrea Curtoni e Giulia Mazzorin (BIENNALE URBANA)

Andrea Curtoni and Giulia Mazzorin are independent architects and curators. They both hold a PhD in Urban Planning from the IUAV University of Venice, and their research focusses on issues relating to participation and public art in the processes of urban regeneration and sustainable urban development. Together they founded B-Urb (an acronym of Biennale Urbana), a project led by the cultural association of the same name, with the aim of exploring the limits and distances that exist between La Biennale (as a cultural institution), Venice (as a city) and the Lagoon (as a territory), promoting moments of mutual exchange through training programs and by reactivating cultural and social spaces in Venice.