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Digital initiative

Tavola: Transmutations of Land, Labour and Food



On Ocean Archive and on Ocean Space and TBA21–Academy Facebook pages

The ocean waters which flow between and among the coasts, islands and archipelagos of east Asia have thousands of years of history to share and remain battle grounds for ancient Imperial claims and contemporary forms of territorialisation. The rising levels and futures of these waters imperil the lives and livelihoods of what currently stands at almost one quarter of the global human population. Diverse actors in the region respond to these dynamics in varying ways. Some seek to counter these imminent submersions through geoengineering land masses from coastal areas. Others are resisting the extensions of land claims for the growth of market spaces and associated infrastructures supporting heightened mobilities through port, shipping and energy systems. Infrastructures speed up the flow of materials and in so doing compress space and time. China’s Belt and Road Initiative holds the promise to Easternise the 21st century’s globalisation. Touching down in case studies from Southern Thailand, South Korea, Singapore as well as following the diffuse narrativisations arising from the People’s Republic of China— Tavola 6 Transmutations of Land, Labour and Food charts a course that is connected by numerous themes. Here Ocean Fellows Pietro Scammaca, Jeanne Penjan Lassus, Elisa Giulianao and invited guest William Jamieson consider metabolisms of different scales—across human and urban patterns of consumption and waste; commodification of land, labour, heritage; changing forms of work and subsistence, land dispossessions, uneven development and the epistemic delimitations of finite boundaries between land and water.


The "Tavola" are conceived as a space (without walls) for discussion. They are organized and promoted by the participants of the 2020 Ocean Fellowship created by TBA21—Academy within the context of Territorial Agency’s exhibition “Oceans in Transformation” at Ocean Space, in Venice, and its manifestation on Ocean Archive. Each Tavola intersects autonomously the Trajectories identified by Territorial Agency.

This event was conceived and coordinated by researchers: Fiona Middleton, Pietro Consolandi and Christantus Begealawuh under the supervision of the two mentors Barbara Casavecchia and Louise Carver. Click here for more information about the Ocean Fellowship program.