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3.Memories of sand: the salt marshes of the central lagoon

Lagoon Micro-ecologies. Venice as a model for the future?


Admission fee
Free of charge

Reservation is required at info@ocean-space.org


5:00pm at Ocean Space | 5:40 on the Island of San Servolo

“Lagoon Micro-ecologies”, is the title of the second series of itinerant conversations “Venice as a Model for the Future?” curated by Barbara Casavecchia and Pietro Consolandi for TBA21−Academy and Ocean Space.

This new chapter moves beyond the urban boundaries of the city of Venice towards the islands of its lagoon. The participants direct their steps and gazes to the land and the seascapes created by the interaction between various species, not only human, that inhabit them: from coastal sand to garden soil, from salt marshes, a thriving home to wild plants and birds, to seabeds populated by tiny fish and molluscs.

In inviting us to rethink landscapes as “assemblages” of coexisting life forms, requiring “habits of noticing”, scholar and anthropologist Anna Tsing reminds us that they are “open-ended gatherings. They allow us to ask about communal effects without assuming them. They show us the potential histories in the making.”*


The salt marshes have always played a role in safeguarding the Venetian Lagoon: protecting it from the wind, mitigating the tides, supporting its biodiversity, and absorbing carbon dioxide. However, in the second half of the 1900s they started to disappear. What remains of them in the central lagoon, beyond the memories of the Venetians? Do the mud and the sand found on the lagoon bed still contain the records of the ecosystems that they accommodated until just a few decades ago? Can we conceive of a way to restore the salt marshes, making them an operational element for the future of Venice? Landscape architect Amina Chouiri leads us on a journey through the past, and into the future, based on her thesis “The Operating Venetian Lagoon - The Agency of Barene”, awarded “Best Graduate 2020” by the Faculty of Architecture at Delft Technical University (TU Delft).


5.00pm: Meeting at Ocean Space. Departure for “Lagoon Micro-ecologies. Venice as a model for the future?”

5:40pm: Meeting on the Island of San Servolo

Participation is free, please make a reservation at info@ocean-space.org.

Limited places available. We remind you that transport via vaporetto is at the expense of participants.


Amina Chouairi is a landscape architect from Milan graduated cum laude from the Technical University of Delft, the Netherlands. Thanks to the master thesis discussed, “The Operating Venetian Lagoon: The Agency of Barene”, addressing the regeneration of the brackish saltmarshes landscape in the central lagoon, she has been awarded with the prize of Best Graduate 2020 of the Faculty of Architecture and Built Environment. In addition, the research outcome figures among the forty best academic projects of 2020 selected by Archiprix Netherlands. Today Amina, still collaborating with TU Delft and regularly visiting the Venetian Lagoon, is actively working as landscape architect in Paris at VOGT Paysage et Urbanisme.


“Lagoon Micro-ecologies” is part of TBA21–Academy’s educational program, The Current III: The Mediterraneans: “Thus waves come in pairs” (After Etel Adnan), led by Barbara Casavecchia.

The Current III is a transdisciplinary program of perception, listening, thought and learning that supports projects, collective education, and voices on the shores of the Mediterranean through art, culture, science, and activism.

*Anna Tsing, When The Things We Study Respond to Each Other, in: More-than-Human, ed. by Andrés Jaque, Marina Otero Verzier, Lucia Pietroiusti, and Lisa Mazza, co-published by Het Nieuwe Instituut, Office for Political Innovation, General Ecology Project at the Serpentine Galleries and Manifesta Foundation, 2020.