TBA21 Announces Climate Change Meeting in Jamaica

Can joining artists with scientists bring climate change solutions?

A TBA21 expedition in Kwebwaga, Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea, with Francesca von Habsburg in the center.
Photo: Deck Hand Ryan Lombard Courtesy TAB21.

Building on the strong links between art and environmental entrepreneurship, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21)—founded by the Austrian art collector Francesca von Habsburg—announced the Current Convening, a program of lectures, workshops, and performances based around the affects of climate change on the oceans.

A previous environmental expedition organized by TBA21 garnered international headlines for accidentally discovering a rare glow-in-the-dark species of sea turtle in the Solomon Islands last year.

Francesca von Habsburg Photo: Reto Guntli/TBA21 via Facebook

Francesca von Habsburg
Photo: Reto Guntli/TBA21 via Facebook

The Current is a three-year exploratory fellowship program based in the Pacific. The first meeting initiated by the foundation since the launch of its triennial project at the COP21 climate summit in Paris last year, will take place at the newly opened _space independent arts venue in Kingston, Jamaica from March 15-18.

The Current’s first expedition, which was guided by the international curator Ute Meta Bauer, took a team of artists and researchers to Papua New Guinea in the autumn of 2015. The next expedition, in June 2016, will see Swiss curator Damian Christinger embark on a voyage to French Polynesia. Each expedition is to culminate in a convening, to allow the participants to publicly present their experiences at sea.

Stressing the value of convening, the Current’s director Markus Reman said “The aim is to create an experience that resonates with people from numerous disciplines across a range of demographics and age groups with a program that is inclusive of local audiences.”

He explained “An exploration of the global phenomenon of climate change is timely and urgent in Jamaica as well as around the world.”

National Geographic Emerging Explorer David Gruber discovers a biofluorescent sea turtle near the Solomon Islands.

TBA21’s last expedition discovered the existence of a rare biofluorescent sea turtle.
Photo: Still via YouTube

By convening curators, artists, scientists, and researchers the program hopes to develop new ways of thinking about and addressing climate change. “Confronting challenges and discussing solutions will be at the core of this new ideas festival,” TBA21 founder and chairwoman Francesca von Habsburg said in a statement.

The program is designed to stimulate, provoke, and raise awareness, but also, to entertain. “This open think tank goes beyond disciplinary boundaries and formats to forge new alliances and educational platforms and envision new ways of creative thinking and entrepreneurship,” Habsburg added.

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