Press Release

Exhibition Exploring Oceanic Worldviews and Issues to Be Presented in Two Parts at the Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik and the Newly Restored Monastery of Our Lady of the Cave in Lopud, Croatia, Opening in July

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Organized by TBA21–Academy, OCEANS. Imagining a Tidalectic Worldview Features Installations, Sculpture, and Videos by Artists Such as Elmgreen & Dragset, Ariel Guzik, Eduardo Navarro, and Jana Winderen

OCEANS. Imagining a Tidalectic Worldview features 17 artists whose distinctive works cast oceanic perspectives on the cultural, political and biological dimensions of the oceans, examining the effects of human-made issues such as climate change and sea-level rise while reimagining human and “beyond human” relationships. Organized by TBA21–Academy and presented in two parts, OCEANS will open at the Museum of Modern Art in Dubrovnik on July 4, 2018, and at the newly restored Monastery of Our Lady of the Cave on the island of Lopud on July 6, 2018.

OCEANS will be activated by an opening symposium “Return to the Sea,” drawing upon the interdisciplinary field research, knowledge production, and advocacy that TBA21–Academy has generated with artists, scientists, policy makers, and frontline leadership from climate change hotspots from around the world since its founding in 2011. “Return to the Sea” will be presented on Wednesday, July 4, at MOMAD, and on Friday, July 6, at Our Lady of the Cave Monastery. More information can be found below and is available here.

“The issues facing the oceans may seem incomprehensible and insolvable because of their complexity or scale. Through the OCEANS exhibition and symposium, TBA21–Academy is seeking to synthesize a range of knowledge systems by inviting experts from a variety of disciplines and the general public to jointly imagine a radically different future for our planet and to take action. Dubrovnik and Lopud, whose inhabitants regularly witness the  effects of  humans on the Adriatic Sea seemed like obvious destinations for OCEANS,” stated Markus Reymann, Director of TBA21–Academy.The exhibition marks the first time the complex of Our Lady of the Cave, which traces its origins to 1483, will be accessible to the public after an extensive 18-year conservation and adaptive reuse program.

“For more than 10 years, Lopud has served as a venue for research and development for TBA21, where we have convened artists, scientists, policy makers, and indigenous leadership from throughout the region and across the world to collaboratively explore the most pressing issues of our times. I see no better location for OCEANS than this beautiful region,” stated Francesca von Habsburg, Founder and Executive Producer of TBA21–Academy, whose connection to Croatia and art preservation goes back to 1994.

The OCEANS exhibition will be open to the public in both venues until September 30, 2018. The exhibition builds upon previous iterations that appeared as Tidalectics at Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary in Augarten, Vienna (June 2–November 19, 2017) and Océans. Une vision du monde au rythme des vagues (February 9–April 22, 2018) at Le Fresnoy in Tourcoing, France. It is accompanied by a formative compendium published jointly with MIT Press.


Many of the works in OCEANS have been generated through the fellowship, research, and commissioning programs of TBA21–Academy. Exhibition highlights include:

  • Newell Harry, Untitled (Anagrams and Objects for R.U. & R.U. (Part I), 2015, and Untitled (Objects and Anagrams for R.U. & R.U. (Part II), 2015

Harry charts creole and pidgin languages, alternative modes of exchange, and notions of value and currency in the Pacific. The exhibition features objects relating to the Kula ring, a traditional system of ceremonial gift exchange, and anagrams printed on hereditary Tongan ngatu cloths.

  • Susanne M. Winterling, Glistening Troubles, 2016

Glistening Troubles, which grew out of Winterling’s residency at the TBA21–Academy’s sister organization, the Alligator Head Foundation in Jamaica, investigates dinoflagellate algae and their bioluminescence as indicators of the health of coastal waters with toxic potential.

  • Sissel Tolaas, Ocean SmellScapes, 2017

Smell researcher and artist Tolaas collects and synthesizes smells of Costa Rican oceanscapes currently undergoing ecological change. Her olfactory portraits evoke familiar and new motifs that may soon disappear but can be tracked with the help of the collected data.

  • Tue Greenfort, Tamoya Ohboya, 2017

In an installation centered on live jellyfish, Greenfort explores complex ecosystems and the consciousness of these aquatic organisms.

  • Ariel Guzik, The Nereida Capsule, 2015

Guzik’s work is an instrument materializing an intention of encounter between humans and cetaceans free from dominion and devoid of utilitarian or scientific research interests.


Inaugurating the exhibition at both locations is an interdisciplinary symposium featuring experts from diverse disciplines that extend the conversation around the core topics raised by the exhibition— examining the impact of human interference on oceanic ecosystems and local communities and reimagining new relationships and connections that can foster change. Organized by TBA21–Academy, "Return to the Sea" will explore topics including how different cultural forms shape modes of life in the oceans, the opportunities and responsibilities created by artistic research, and the restoration process of the monastery on Lopud. Participants include:

  • Artists Rasmus Neilsen (SUPERFLEX), Sissel Tolaas, Jana Winderen, Newell Harry, and Atif Akin
  • TBA21–Academy leadership Francesca von Habsburg and Markus Reymann
  • Nina Obuljen Koržinek, Minister of Culture of the Republic of Croatia
  • Exhibition curator Stefanie Hessler and chief TBA21 curator Daniela Zymann
  • MOMAD director Marin Ivanović and MOMAD International Project Manager Jelena Tamindzija
  • Filmaker, writer, and curator Florian Schneider, Head of Department, NTNU
  • Scientists Kruno Bonacic and Sandro Carniel (CNR-ISMAR)



Jointly published with MIT Press Tidalectics. Imagining an Oceanic Worldview through Art and Science presents seminal historical texts alongside new research on one of the world’s most important and currently threatened ecosystems—the oceans—by key voices whose work is deeply anchored in the oceanic space. These writers offer perspectives from a diverse range of disciplines, including art, law, geography, oceanography, architecture, anthropology, and Oceanian philosophy.Edited by Stefanie Hessler, with a foreword by Markus Reymann, the compendium includes contributions by Nabil Ahmed, Tamatoa Bambridge, Kamau Brathwaite, Guigone Camus, Rachel Carson, Cynthia Chou, Paul D'Arcy, Tony deBrum, Elizabeth DeLoughrey, Keller Easterling, Bill Graham, Francesca von Habsburg, Stefan Helmreich, Cresantia Frances Koya Vaka'uta, Rosiana Lagi, Stéphanie Leyronas, Chus Martínez, Astrida Neimanis, Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Philip E. Steinberg, Khal Torabully, Lingikoni Vaka'uta, Davor Vidas, and Susanne M. Winterling.

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Rineke Dijkstra Dubrovnik, Croatia, July 13, 1996, 1996; Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Collection; Photo: Courtesy of the artist

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