Tears Of The Ocean
ART REPUBLIK|Dec - Feb 2018

A new exhibition at NTU CCA Singapore poses critical questions about human intervention in oceanic environments

Rebecca Wong

Who owns the ocean, and who has the authority to govern it? These questions are repeatedly brought to the surface in ‘The Oceanic’ at NTU Centre for Contemporary Art (NTU CCA) Singapore’s exhibition on extensive human intervention in oceanic biospheres. Running from 9 December 2017 to 4 March 2018, the exhibition is part of ‘The Current’, an ongoing research initiative by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary– Academy (TBA21–Academy) which investigates environmental and sociopolitical issues.

At the helm is curator and NTU CCA’s founding director Professor Ute Meta Bauer, who led the project’s first cycle of expeditions from 2015 to 2017. Joining her were ‘The Current’ Research Fellows:z 12 artists, composers, academics and filmmakers who contributed to the current exhibition. The team journeyed aboard TBA21– Academy’s vessel Dardanella to the Pacific Ocean archipelagos of Papua New Guinea (2015), French Polynesia (2016), and Fiji (2017).

Bauer explains the rationale behind selecting these locations: “We wanted to focus on remote island groups that are immediately affected by climate change and human intervention. These areas contribute less than 2 percent to climate change but suffer 98 percent of the environmental impact caused by globalisation.”

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