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

Skip to navigation Skip to main content


In the Sign of the Ocean

Presentations, conversations, and roundtable discussions to explore "Abecedarium: the Ocean in Sign Language"


Admission fee
Free of charge

Only for the day on October 27 at ISMAR, reservations are required at the following link.

On Friday, October 27, and Saturday, October 28, you are invited to two days of presentations and roundtable discussions about the project "Abecedarium: the Ocean in Sign Language." This long-term educational and participatory project by TBA21–Academy is conceived and curated at Ocean Space by Valeria Bottalico, an expert in museum accessibility, and Angela Pomaro, a researcher and scientific director at the National Research Council's Institute of Marine Sciences (CNR-ISMAR). The project is realized in collaboration with ENS-Ente Nazionale Sordi ONLUS (The Italian National Agency for the Deaf) and the Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies (CNR-ISTC).

The ocean is a fundamental resource for all living beings, and for humans, it serves as a social, economic, political, linguistic, aesthetic, and physical connector, covering more than 70% of the planet. Scientific communication and the development of educational programs play a crucial role, especially when designed with a long-term strategy, to contribute to the growth of conscious identities. By providing access to information and knowledge, these tools enable everyone to participate in the global debate as a right of democratic citizenship and representing a reconnection between humans and the environment.

The project "Abecedarium: the Ocean in Sign Language," initiated in 2020, aims to map out and create an eco-glossary of terms and signs in Italian Sign Language relating to the ocean and its environment. It begins with a collective action involving the deaf community to reflect on the urgency of making scientific communication and "Ocean Literacy" accessible to everyone through sign language. For this reason, the project incorporates contributions from various disciplinary fields capable of offering different perspectives and stimulating critical reflection.

Art can inspire both care and action and is often the missing but essential element in efforts to understand and safeguard the environment. Art and culture possess a transformative power that can inspire humans to rebuild the lost connection with nature and deepen our care for it.

These two days of events are an opportunity to discover the project and its developments over the years. They are aimed at a general audience as well as professionals, the deaf and artistic communities, and everyone who might be interested.

Both days will be accompanied by Italian Sign Language interpretation services.


FRIDAY, OCTOBER 27, presentation and roundtable discussion at the CNR-ISMAR headquarters, from 2:30pm to 5:00pm

The day includes a presentation of the project, the partners who have contributed to its realization, and the methodology used for its development. This will be followed by a roundtable discussion dedicated to reflecting on the themes of scientific communication and accessibility.

Moderated by: Vera Mantengoli, journalist

  • 2:30pm – 3pm | Institutional Greetings

Mario Sprovieri | Director CNR-ISMAR

David Hrankovic | Managing Director Ocean Space

Emanuele Arzà | President ENS Regione Veneto

Aldo Gangemi | Director CNR-ISTC

  • 3pm – 4pm | Presentation of the project "Abecedarium: the Ocean in Sign Language"


Valeria Bottalico | Creator and curator of the project, Ocean Space

Angela Pomaro | Researcher CNR-ISMAR and co-curator of the project

Silvia Franco | President ENS Venice

Olga Capirci | Research Manager CNR-ISTC and coordinator of the LaCAM Laboratory

  • 4pm – 5pm | Roundtable discussion on "Accessible Scientific Communication"


Chiara Di Monte | LIS lecturer and interpreter

Olivier Fidalgo | Accessibility expert in museums, former reference for Cité des sciences et de l'industrie e del Palais de la Découverte of Paris

Ana Victoria Tereza De Magalhaes | Ocean Literacy Consultant, UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe

Giulia Bruno | Artist

Alessio Di Rienzo | Researcher CNR-ISTC and LaCAM Laboratory

Followed by a debate.

The meeting includes Italian Sign Language interpretation services.

Participation is free with registration required at this link.


SATURDAY, OCTOBER 28, from 11am to 1pm, presentation event at Ocean Space

The curatorial team will introduce the artists involved and their contributions to the project, followed by the presentation of a preview of the new work "On the Other Ocean" by Giulia Bruno and Giuseppe Ielasi, commissioned by TBA21–Academy and co-produced with the Institute of Marine Sciences CNR-ISMAR. The day concludes with guided tours, including in Italian Sign Language, of the Ocean Space exhibition "Thus waves come in pairs," open to all interested individuals.

11am | Welcome Breakfast

11:30am | Institutional Greetings

11:45am | Conversation with Valeria Bottalico, Giulia Bruno, and Giuseppe Ielasi

12:15pm | Screening of the preview of "On the Other Ocean," a new work by Giulia Bruno and Giuseppe Ielasi, commissioned by by TBA21–Academy and co-produced with CNR-ISMAR

At 2:30pm, guided tours of the ongoing exhibition, "Thus waves come in pairs," will be available, conducted by a mediator accompanied by an Italian Sign Language interpreter.


Participation is free of charge.

Reservations are required only for the October 27 event at CNR-ISMAR at this link.

For more information, please send an email to education@ocean-space.org.


Giulia Bruno is an artist based in Berlin working with media languages, photography and video. She has MA in Biology at the Università degli Studi in Milan, and a Master in Photography at CFP Bauer and in Filmmaking at Civica Scuola di Cinema Luchino Visconti in Milan, Italy. Her artistic research is on themes such as technology, political and cultural activism with a focus on definition of Nature and Language, and the contradictions that arise in their interactions. Her work explores artificial and natural landscapes, with reference to issues such as climate change, relationship between life and science, pop and culture, biodiversity and language. Her works have been exhibited internationally and in 2018, her artistic research on language as a technological act was selected for ArtReview’s Future Greats. She recently developed the exhibition “Earth Indices” with Armin Linke in collaboration with scientists from the Anthropocene Working Group for the Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt.

Giuseppe Ielasi. Born in 1974, he grew up in the south of Italy and now resides in the outskirts of Milano with his family. He has been making music and touring since the late nineties (he tours much less nowadays). He mostly plays solo, but also in Bellows (with Nicola Ratti), Rain Text (with Giovanni Civitenga), in duos with Enrico Malatesta, Kassel Jaeger, Andrew Pekler and collaborates regularly with film makers and photographers Giulia Bruno, Armin Linke and theatre director Chiara Guidi. He has released music on 12k, Entr'acte, Senufo Editions (which he co-curates with Jennifer Veillerobe), Dekorder, Holidays, Black Truffle, Error Broadcast (as Inventing Masks), 901editions and a few other labels.