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Stories from an urban lagoon in the 21st century


Digital activity

Available on Ocean Archive, on SoundCloud, Spotify, on iTunes and on Google Podcast.

“Nowtilus. Stories from an urban lagoon in the 21st century” is a program of research and investigation into voices revealing a Venice that is, first and foremost, a lagoon in relation to the existence of its inhabitants. Over the course of eight podcast episodes, shared on Ocean Archive and on TBA21−Academy Radio on Soundcloud, Spotify and on iTunes and on Google Podcast every two weeks starting April 24th, 2020, “Nowtilus” brings listeners on a journey of discovery and dialogue between different stories related to the sustainability of the lagoon, the city's resilience, and the reversal of generalities and trivializations about one of the most unique and at the same time popularised city in the world: Venice.

The neologism “Nowtilus” refers to 'Nautilus', captain Nemo’s submarine in Jules Verne's novel "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas" (1870). The term also denominates a cephalopod mollusk that has survived unchanged for 450 million years. Furthermore, Nautilus is also the Latin word for sailor, derived from the Greek nautilos. The prefix "now" suggests the current urgency to reflect on the state of Venice and its lagoon.

Those boarding the “Nowtilus” will discover extraordinary visions and stories of Venetian inhabitants and professionals, who will map: lagoon-specific, scientific research on tides and high water; architectural and urban visions, changes in the waters of the canals; realities under a surface of plastics and micro-plastics; visions of Venetian artists and their careful observations of the peculiar dynamics of human interaction in Venice; independent cultural realities that have emerged over the years and are fighting for a critical and liveable Venice; stories about traditional fishing practices and the industrialization of fishing and the local food supply chain. The series presents an amphibious research project about Venice, the views existing within its lagoon ecosystem, and the city’s relationship with water, navigation, and cultural exchange. How to restore the delicate balance between humanity and nature in the city and its lagoon that provide a quintessential reflection of the relationship between humans and their surrounding environment, mass tourism, and the resilience of a city? Rethinking what Venice can be - if its lagoon can be placed at the center of our concerns and not at the periphery - is what “Nowtilus” seeks to discover.

Episodes conducted by Enrico Bettinello and curated with Alice Ongaro Sartori.

Music from the album “Venice” (2004) by Austrian composer and musician Christian Fennesz.


Enrico Bettinello is a Venetian curator, writer and cultural manager mostly active in the fields of music and performing arts. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Europe Jazz Network and project manager for I-Jazz, the association of Jazz Festivals in Italy.

As a curator he collaborates with NovaraJazz (managing residencies and multi-disciplinary projects), Pro-Helvetia (as creator and artistic director of the New Echoes series of concerts), Palazzo Grassi/Punta della Dogana Museum, the Venice Biennale and many more.
After his seminal experience at Teatro Fondamenta Nuove, and after having directed the IED in Venice, he is currently teaching at Ca' Foscari University.


1. Narrating Venice with Tiziano Scarpa

Available on Ocean Archive, on SoundCloud, Spotify, on iTunes and on Google Podcast.

2. Supervenice: Architecture and Urbanism with Sara Marini, architect and teacher at IUAV University in Venice

Available on Ocean Archive, on SoundCloud, Spotify, on iTunes and on Google Podcast.

3. People and public spaces with Nicola di Croce, sound-artist and Mariateresa Sartori, artist

Available on Ocean Archive, on SoundCloud, Spotify, on iTunes and on Google Podcast.

4. The Lagoon eco-system with Luigi Cavaleri, oceanographer from ISMAR-CNR; Fabiana Corami, biologist, Institute of Polar Sciences (CNR-ISP); and Beatrice Rosso, researcher, Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and Statistics of Ca' Foscari University in Venice.

Available from Friday, June 5 at 4pm on Ocean Archive, on SoundCloud, Spotify, on iTunes and on Google Podcast.