A tiny candy-stick coloured pygmy pipehorse discovered in fall 2021 in a small area off New Zealand’s north coast has been given a Maori name. The local iwi (tribe) was the first Indigenous group to formally name a new species of animal. In an overdue recognition of traditional knowledge, this is the first animal in the world to have the naming authority include a tribal name.
(Eva Corlett for the Guardian, October 6, 2021.)
Names are important, as are the stories carrying on these names, the stories that need telling and call for being listened to. TBA21–Academy’s Ocean Fellowship 2022 is conceived as a collaborative effort to share relations with the Ocean in different parts of the planet and to recognize their differences and common grounds. We aim to engage with Indigenous perspectives upon what is and what could be the Ocean and how bodies of water should be treated from an Indigenous perspective.
In collaboration with The Sámi Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale in 2022, the Office for Contemporary Art Norway, aabaakwad, and Artis, the Ocean Fellowship 2022 gathers participants to consider our kinship and duties of care toward the Ocean and its relations in multi-species communities and with diverse lifeforms. What are our responsibilities toward the Ocean? How can thinking from the Ocean build radically inclusive environments? Indigenous perspectives are brought to the center of our work to define resurgent values, forms, and stories and intertwining knowledges of the past, present, and futures of the Ocean we are all in relation with and dependent upon.
The Ocean Fellowship facilitates connections across the diverse localities, knowledges, and oceanic routes of its fellows and mentors, who will spend time together in Venice exploring opportunities to learn through oceanic Indigenous methodologies that will also reach a wider audience through the Academy’s ecosystem: Ocean Space in Venice, Ocean-Archive.org, and OCEAN / UNI.
The 2022 program supports four fellows and the two mentors, Rebecca Belmore and Harald Gaski (to be confirmed), who will conduct individual and collaborative research with an awareness of oceanic worldviews and marine histories. They will combine an understanding and recognition of Indigenous marine governance and leadership, exploring non-binarism as a philosophy, equality, social justice, jurisprudence, and justice strategies that protect the water. The Fellowship continues to bring attention to storytelling as a methodology, as an action that portrays and conveys a territory, a mindset, and a substance, encouraging intergenerational exchange, building resilience in communities. The water between us binds us.
The Ocean Fellowship program will offer a total allowance of 4,500 EUR per fellow for the full duration of the program, in addition to covering the travel to and from Venice and accommodation in Venice for three months (subject to one return ticket and modest accommodation in accordance with the travel policy). The allowance may be subject to tax, status will be determined on a case-by-case basis. We will support each successful applicant individually in the process of securing additional support as well as clearing visas and medical insurance.