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

Skip to navigation Skip to main content

Digital initiative

Tavola: Ocean–Monsoons, Memory and Atlantic movements



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

Weather phenomena are aspects of the ocean’s memory. Monsoons and hurricanes form in the temporal delays of thermodynamic exchanges between land and sea: such as the slow collisions of melting ice sheets with warming seawater surface temperatures; interior desert heat lows and the upwelling underwater currents. The exchanges of temperature and pressure take shape as weather patterns that release enormous energy and turn the present into the memory of future climatic arrangements.

Mnemonic Ocean: Monsoons, memory, and Atlantic movements considers the interchange of the ocean’s own memory with a social memory of the ocean. Tavola 4 for the Mid Atlantic Trajectory traces and stretches the oceanic thoroughfares that connect changing weather patterns in coastal and interior regions of Africa to the deforestation of the Amazon via the trade winds of the Black Atlantic. The memory of the middle-passage and struggles for emancipation across the mid-Atlantic are deeply entwined with these social and ecological transformations. Mnemonic Ocean investigates the depths of these memories via monsoons, disappearing islands, drought, desertification and deforestation.

Ocean Fellow Nchongayi Christantus Begealawuh and atmospheric scientist Claudine Wenhaji Ndomeni will discuss the policy implications for the West African Monsoon and the uncertainty around Sahel rainfall variability in the context of shifting Atlantic sea surface temperature. Ocean Fellow Palin Ansusinha will think through the monsoonal memories of the Black Atlantic via the works of author Toni Morrison. Yto Barrada, Omar Berrada and Ocean Fellow Joe Riley will reflect on Tanger en Tangier, a research project that draws connection between the locales of Tangier, Morocco and Tangier Island, Virginia, USA; a small island expected to be submerged underwater within the next fifty years.


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: Jeanne Penjan Lassus (Ghost in the Field), Fiona Middleton, Pietro Consolandi and Joe Riley under the supervision of the two mentors Barbara Casavecchia and Louise Carver. Click here for more information about the Ocean Fellowship program.