TBA21 Launches Ambitious Environmental Art Project ‘The Current’ at COP21 in Paris
Artists, curators, and scientists will explore the Pacific Ocean.
Today, during the ongoing COP21 Solutions conference at Paris’ Grand Palais, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21) foundation is presenting The Current, a three-year exploratory fellowship program taking place in the Pacific, which will offer artists, curators, scientists, marine biologists, anthropologists, and other cultural producers a platform to generate interdisciplinary thought and knowledge.
“In spite of the unprecedented wealth of scientific information available, global environmental woes are still largely underestimated and poorly communicated,” said collector Francesca von Habsburg, founder and chairperson of TBA21, in a statement. “Art can be a powerful weapon if used well, by challenging us to reconsider the way we think, feel, and live instead of just conforming to the rules of the growing art market. After all, the next 10 years are going to be the most important in the next 10,000.”
TBA21 has been quite involved in projects around the Parisian climate change summit. In fact, the two artists who have exhibited most recently at the foundation have also taken part in COP21. Olafur Eliasson presented his poignant Ice Watch project in collaboration with Danish geologist Minik Rosing, which saw the duo taking 12 hunks of free-floating glacial ice from Greenland’s Nuuk Fjord and placing them in a circle formation outside the Place du Panthéon, until they would melt away and disappear.
Meanwhile, Ernesto Neto has also participated in COP21 with a debate about indigenous communities alongside members of the Huni Kuin, the indigenous peoples from the Amazon forest with whom he’s been working on a long-term collaborative project.
The Current—which seeks to take “creative practice out of the studio, science out of the lab, and the participants out of their comfort zones” by treating the ocean and its coastal communities as an arena to explore sociopolitical, economic, and environmental issues—will be organized in three-year cycles.
Phase 1 will take place in Papua New Guinea, Marquesas Islands, and Fiji. The leaders of these expeditions will be Ute Meta Bauer, founding director of the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore; Cesar Garcia, founder, director, and chief curator of The Mistake Room, Los Angeles; and the independent curator and lecturer Damian Christinger.
Von Habsburg founded TBA21 in 2002, and it has gained a strong reputation worldwide for fostering ambitious and multidisciplinary projects that defy categorizations.
In September, marine biologist David Gruber discovered a new glow-in-the-dark sea turtle while taking part in the TBA21 Academy expedition—a forerunner initiative to The Current—in collaboration with National Geographic, which gathered artists, curators, and scientists to explore environmental issues together.
Today’s presentation of The Current will be live-streamed from 3pm CET, and you can watch it here:
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