A ninth-century Venetian church largely closed to the public for more than 100 years has reopened as the home for Ocean Space, an interdisciplinary arts centre with a focus on marine conservation. An immersive multimedia installation by American artist Joan Jonas inaugurates the new ‘embassy for oceans’, which has been spearheaded by the eco-minded offshoot of Austrian art patron Francesca von Thyssen-Bornemisza’s foundation TBA21 (Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary).
‘Today, [Venice] struggles alongside numerous other coastal communities and island states the effects of climate change and sea level rise, making the mission and programme of Ocean Space ever more topical to the local community and its visitors,’ explained Thyssen-Bornemisza in a statement. Since its inception in 2011, the nomadic TBA21-Academy has collaborated with a global network of artists, scientists, explorers, legal experts, and policy makers intent on fostering a greater understanding of our oceans through the lens of art. The academy’s diverse non-profit programme encompasses exhibitions, installations, commissions, residencies and expeditions.
Curated by Stefanie Hessler, Jonas’ installation Moving Off the Land II is the culmination of three years of research in aquariums worldwide. The work intertwines prose by writers including Emily Dickinson and Herman Melville with moving images captured during Jonas’ residency off the Jamaica coast. Oceans have surfaced in the artist’s work previously, including her project for the 56th Venice Biennale – a poetic reflection on the fragility of nature.
‘Moving Off the Land II’ is on view until 29 September at the Church of San Lorenzo, Campo San Lorenzo, 30122 Venice. For more information, visit the Ocean Space website, TBA21-Academy website and Office for Political Innovation website
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