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TBA21–Academy presents An Ocean Without Shore

November 9–12, 2022

TBA21-Academy’s new live research program Meandering, curated by Sofia Lemos, explores the spiritual, philosophical, and political trajectories of rivers while listening out for the many stories carried through tributaries, springs, streams, alluvial plains, tidal marshes, wetlands, and aquifers that cultivate the life-affirming wisdom of water. The program is inspired by the way waterways bend and curve, connecting entire ecosystem It practices how relational approaches to generating both inner transformation and the conditions of opportunity for societal change within riverine places can be encouraged via live creative research as a mode of wayfinding and sense-making.

An Ocean Without Shore, an evocative waterscape that spans a free, multi-day conference-festival of performances, screenings, talks, meditation, LARP (live-action role-playing), river-walks, communal meals, music, and poetry, will take place between November 9 and 12 at TBA21-Academy with assistance from the City of Cordoba. This program explores many riverine forms of being and belonging through intergenerational talks, tales, and exchanges between artists, activists, poets, practitioners, and philosophers. It offers a space for reflection on how engaged and contemplative practice can strengthen local imaginaries and redistribute ways of knowing within our surroundings. It starts from the Guadalquivir, Andalusia’s great river, to explore expanded notions of Ocean stewardship, climate responsibility, contemporary mysticism, and renewed ritual.

An Ocean Without Shore imagines rivers not as resources to be extracted but as living, political actors in environmental disputes, attending to both contemporary and historical notions of river administration. It explores the dreams, contested histories, and ideologies of belonging that reveal connections between stress and risk in fluvial ecosystems brought on by transnational violence and colonial expansion, as well as extractive economies linked to racial capitalism and ecological devastation by agribusiness and corporate interests. This is done by holding an awareness space that is affectively oriented to focus on love and grief for rivers.

The Guadalquivir River is connected to Jewish and Islamic mysticism, which has had a considerable but little-known impact on Spanish culture, as well as Christian ecotheosophy through a web of energies, histories, and potentials. These perspectives offer active proposals for unraveling our perception of the world as conditioned by separateness and differentiation. These perspectives are deepened by ideas from Engaged Buddhism, Indigenous worldviews, and shamanic visions combined with decolonial queer practices and discourses.

An Ocean Without Shore aims to co-create a practice and poetics of creative awareness for local audiences, children, artists, and organizations while also expressing how the Ocean may become an expanse for resolving our relationship with both ourselves and the earth’s waterways. The four-day gathering includes a series of working sessions on critical river literacy, community outreach, and capacity-building. These sessions are followed by an evening program of public events that provide research-driven, hands-on resources for improving our understanding of interdependent ecosystems.

An Ocean Without Shore aims to nourish abundant worldviews by cultivating the compassion, aspiration, and drive to inspire change. It offers spiritual-scientific entanglements and non-dualist philosophies to seed a wider sense of self, a richer experience of community, an expanded view of time, and the imagination to manifest inspiring visions in fellowship with every ocean, river, and waterway that connects and surrounds us.

With Edgar Calel, Carolina Caycedo, Jessica Ekomane, Sally Fenaux Barleycorn, Coco Fusco, Francisco Godoy-Vega, Lafawndah, Lanoche, Isabel Lewis, Gracia López-Anguita, Juan Lopéz Intzín, Michael Marder, Ana María Millán, Fernanda Muñoz-Newsome, Eduardo Navarro, Claudia Pagès, Lorenzo Sandoval, Colin Self, Chaveli Sifre, and Rosa Tharrats, among others.

Meandering is conceived and curated by Sofia Lemos, with research support from Maya Saravia, coordination by Henry Eigenheer, documentation by Lourdes Cabrera, and production support from the teams at TBA21 and TBA21–Academy.

TBA21–Academy is a cultural ecosystem fostering a deeper relationship to the Ocean through the lens of art to inspire care and action. For a decade, the Academy has been an incubator for collaborative research, artistic production, and new forms of knowledge by combining art and science. Meandering is its first artistic research program dedicated to waterways and freshwater ecosystems. In its initial cycle, it extends TBA21–Academy’s practices and methodologies to the Guadalquivir River in Andalusia in collaboration with the City of Córdoba.

Córdoba, Spain
Various locations
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