TBA21-Academy, The Current Launches Ute Meta Bauer’s 2nd expedition “Tuamotus: Distant Islands”

Words by Carla Ingrasciotta
July 4, 2016

At the end of June, curator Ute Meta Bauer and five TBA21 The Current Fellows join TBA21-Academy Co-founder and Director Markus Reymann at the MV Dardanella in French Polynesia for Meta Bauer’s second exploratory Expedition as part of TBA21 The Current.

Led by curator Ute Meta Bauer, the two-week Expedition will explore remote islands in French Polynesia with the aim to better understand the impact of external human interventions on the lives of the local population, inhabited and uninhabited atolls and marine wildlife. 2016 marks the anniversary of the nuclear tests, which took place on the atolls Fangataufa and Mururoa in French Polynesia between 1966-1996. The tests, a total of 193, were controversial at the time and are still subject of debate today. They left long-lasting effects on the environment, particularly the oceans, and human and other life in the area. Dedicated to the theme “Tuamotus: Distant Islands,” the Expedition will also provide a chance to consider how geographic distance affects our perceptions, fantasies and perspectives, and to ask what remoteness and voyages to such places may mean today.

The Expedition’s route will include stops in Hao, Tahiti, Makemo, Tepoto, Tahanea, Fakarava, Toau and Rangiroa, where participants will have the opportunity to meet with local activists, advocacy groups, experts, researchers, and community members who will share their research and experiences.

Participants include the composer, artist, writer and researcher Nabil Ahmed; artist and designer Atif Akin; curator and founding director of NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Ute Meta Bauer; award-winning documentary filmmaker Barney Broomfield; philanthropist, founder and chairman of Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Francesca von Habsburg; curator and writer Stefanie Hessler; sound artist and researcher PerMagnus Lindborg; photographer and filmmaker Armin Linke; film producer Clemens-Josef Prankl; writer and editor Filipa Ramos; and TBA21-Academy Co-founder and Director Markus Reymann.

A Convening will serve as a locus where participants will meet and share their experiences, learnings and research after the second Expedition. The first-ever TBA21 Convening was held in Kingston, Jamaica in March 2016. Convening participants took part in a two-day conversation that included artists, scientists and others invested in the oceans and climate change.

The protection of natural resources and endangered environments, with a particular focus on ocean conservation, has become a main focus of TBA21’s activities. To pursue this urgent agenda, TBA21 The Current was initiated in 2015 as a tailor-made tool for commissioning and disseminating ambitious and unconventional projects that defy traditional categories in the arts and sciences. Reflecting the vision and approach of TBA21’s founder and chairwoman Francesca von Habsburg, TBA21 The Current is dedicated to work that takes on the environment as a priority without ignoring the socio-political issues relating to climate change.

Voyage overview
27 June:
First participants arrive in Tahiti and thereafter take off to Hao.
28 June: Participants interview local activists and citizens in Hao.
29 June: Last Participants arrive in Tahiti.
30 June: Participants join in Tahiti and meet with advocacy group Mururoa e Tatou, which has been trying to build support for the victims of nuclear testing around French Polynesia, as well as the workers on nuclear sites, and Association 193, which has been raising support for the remuneration of victims.
1 July: Meet with Celine Gaspar, a researcher associated with Te Mana o Te Moana who is investigating sea-turtle reproduction around Mururoa in association with the French High Commission.
2-13 July: Voyage to Makemo, Tepoto, Tahanea, Fakarava, Toau and Rangiroa.

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