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Ocean Fellowship 2020


Barbara Casavecchia, Louise Carver


Alexandra Boghosian, Pietro Consolandi, Elisa Giuliano, Joe Riley, Christantus Begealawuh, Ghost in the Field, Fiona Middleton, Pietro Scammacca

The eight Fellows and two Mentors selected for the Ocean Fellowship program in 2020 are: Glaciologist Alexandra Boghosian, artist, writer, and curator Pietro Consolandi, dancer, researcher, and architect Elisa Giuliano, artist, researcher, and sailor Joe Riley, Nchongayi, scholar in Global and Area Studies: Peace and Security in Africa Nchongayi Christantus Begealawuh, Thai-based interdisciplinary research squad Ghost in the Field, researcher and marine geoscientist Fiona Middleton, and researcher and curator Pietro Scammacca. The Fellows are mentored by Barbara Casavecchia, writer and independent curator based in Milan, where she teaches at Brera Academy (Visual Cultures and Curatorship Department), and critical geographer Louise Carver,Lancaster University, UK.

The Ocean Fellowship unfolds over three months through a unique and undisciplined Ocean Curriculum. The program strives to ferment rigorous but disobedient knowledge and ‘deep learning’ to grapple with transformations acting upon the Oceans in the so-called Anthropocene, the current period of Earth’s history defined by abrupt environmental changes triggered by human activities. Oceans play a fundamental role in driving the biogeochemical cycles that control climate, so that it’s crucial to conceive new ways for making evident their radically changing conditions, often ignored, or voluntarily removed from the public sphere.

This Ocean Curriculum flows from and feeds into the annual exhibition program “Oceans in Transformation” by Territorial Agency. Through direct engagements with Territorial Agency, Fellows are immersed in the research and materials behind the artistic production. As a mode of learning, the program presents Fellows with the opportunity to theorize, trace, and publicly mediate the art-science commissions developed by the TBA21–Academy.

Proceeding along a supported but horizontal structure, the Curriculum drifts in, around, and through the “Oceans in Transformation” exhibition in ways that clarify the Fellowship as novel pedagogical art-science practice. By contributing to and expanding on the knowledge and discourses of the exhibition, the Fellowship inverts the roles of mentors and student; artist and viewer. Fellows have the opportunity to interface with and draw from every element of TBA21–Academy’s curatorial, research and institutional program, which is instrumentalized as an evolving knowledge resource and experimental laboratory.

During the program, Fellows engage in activities of sharing and mediating across various formats, such as internal conversations, reading groups, fieldwork and archive research, public presentations, multimedia productions and interactions with the public. Fellows also contribute to and co-organize Messy Studios—a series of meetings and summits conceptualized by Territorial Agency, where ocean thinkers and practitioners from different fields discuss direct solutions, unfolding the respective territorial and disciplinary boundaries and engaging the public directly. Alongside these collaborative activities, Fellows are guided in the development of their own individual research agendas and introduced to institutions, associations, and professionals that are relevant to these in Venice and internationally. Ocean Fellows are encouraged to contribute short essays, writings, visuals or other forms of content—charting the progress of their research on to the Ocean Archive—such that the inputs and outputs of the Fellowship form sedimentations upon which future cohorts will build and develop.