The sea’s many sounds have often escaped human ears. For too long, the detachment from this rich ecosystem was based on the inaccessibility of its depth and on the physical impediment that made it impossible for humans to listen to certain frequencies. The water also served to silence the voices of those fading human bodies forced to cross the sea. In their works, artists Binta Diaw, Tomoko Sauvage, and Julie Semoroz actively respond to these overlooked lives and enable us to listen and reconnect with the unheard: finding a bodily frequency connection with whales (Julie Semoroz’s BALEINA), navigating the fluidity of the water ecosystem that is so separate from our earthly balance (Tomoko Sauvage, Fischgeist), and hearing the stories of the many humans trapped in the waters of the sea forever (Binta Diaw, Chorus of Zong). The Mediterranean Sea, one of the oldest bodies of water facing massive ecological damage, the vast Atlantic Ocean, and an abandoned fish market reconnect death and life, past and present, and together they prompt us to ask: How can we learn to listen to them? For the 2021 Ars Electronica Garden festival, TBA21–Academy presents a selection of works resulting from The Sea—Sounds & Storytelling, a collaborative two-day program organized by the Centre culturel suisse (Paris), Istituto Svizzero (Rome), Institut Kunst (Basel), and TBA21–Academy and hosted by La Criée Théâtre in Marseille as part of Les Parallèles du Sud, an initiative by Manifesta 13 Marseille – The European Nomadic Biennial in 2020.
Chorus of Zong, 2020
Binta Diaw (SN/IT)
Chorus of Zong sounds like a polyphonic choir accompanied by water noises. It is the voices of young Afro-Italians in dialogue with the echoing voices of their ancestors. The polyphonic chorus recites verses from the 2008 poetry collection Zong! by the poet M. NourbeSe Philip, in which she gives voice to the 150 enslaved people who were thrown overboard into the Atlantic Ocean by the crew of the ship that carried them across the ocean.
Fischgeist (fish spirit), 2020
Tomoko Sauvage (JP)
Fischgeist was recorded in a disused water tank in Prenzlauer Berg in Berlin in August 2019. The nineteenth-century brick building is made up of five layered circles with a spiral staircase in the middle leading up to an exit to a hilltop. Inside, it’s humid and cold, the temperature always around 8–10 degrees Celsius. The building’s acoustics produce a long reverberation that lasts up to twenty seconds.
Julie Semoroz (CH)
Julie Semoroz shapes sound using several sources such as field recordings, live microphones, her own voice, and different forms of hardware and software.
Education Conference: An Oceanic Educational Ecosystem
Markus Reymann (DE), Mareike Dittmer (DE), Beatrice Forchini (IT), Petra Linhartova (CZ), Fiona Middleton (UK)
TBA21–Academy’s digital educational ecosystem – Ocean-Archive.org, OCEAN / UNI, and ocean comm/uni/ty – was developed to resonate with its physical venue, Ocean Space in Venice. By developing such an ecosystem, these initiatives aim to translate existing knowledge for a broader audience through new mediation strategies and seek ways to bring the ethos of Ocean Space online: inclusivity, collaboration, curiosity, porosity, and imagination, creating common spaces to gather, discover and learn together.
For the 2021 Ars Electronica Garden festival, TBA21–Academy presents a selection of works resulting from The Sea—Sounds & Storytelling, a collaborative two-day program organized by the Centre culturel suisse (Paris), Istituto Svizzero (Rome), Institut Kunst (Basel), and TBA21–Academy and hosted by La Criée Théâtre in Marseille as part of Les Parallèles du Sud, an initiative by Manifesta 13 Marseille – The European Nomadic Biennial in 2020.