Participatory conference which is organised by TBA21-Academy during the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial 2016
TBA21-Academy proposes an investigation: Could the future of the planet depend upon
our response to the imminent mining operations about to be unleashed in the depths of the oceans?
During the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial “Are We Human?”, curated by Beatriz Colomina and
Mark Wigley, TBA21-Academy organises the participatory conference “Design of the Seabed”.
The conference embarks from the hypothesis that deep sea mining is an anthropogenic
intervention that will profoundly change the planet’s design. It will deeply affect our futures,
which are closely entangled with the oceans.
Seabed mining targets polymetallic nodules that are used in the production of batteries and alloys,
and may well be the next gold rush. Its effects will most likely be long-term and invasive, impacting
ecosystems from the microbial level to the structural constitution of the seabed in a way that
we are not remotely able to anticipate.
Commercial exploitation of the seafloor is currently being evaluated from various positions,
from multinational companies active in Papua New Guinea, to a pilot test program in
the Azores funded by the European Commission. However, potential risks arising from pollution
to sediment plumes to toxicity are only marginally assessed.
The conference puts these hypotheses and questions to the test with invited experts from
the fields of science, technology, law, policy, the rights of nature, ecology, community and art.
With contributions in the form of talks, screenings and remote interventions, these specialists
casted light upon this highly topical and critical subject.
We invite the audience to actively take part in this discussion to deliberate the impacts of
seabed mining and develop a position by the end of the conference.
Stefanie Hessler and Markus Reymann introduce TBA21-Academy
and the conference “Are We Human? Design of the Seabed”
Film screening “Europium” by Lisa Rave
Nilufer Oral in conversation with Sandor Mulsow on deep sea mining,
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and policy
Zafer Kizilkaya on marine management and conservation
Margarida Mendes on curating and anti-extractivist activism in Portugal
Nabil Ahmed on the Inter-Pacific Ring Tribunal (Interprt)
Georg Eder summarizes the previous day
Discussion and working plan
2 pm - 6 pm
Discussion and commitments
Biennial closed Nabil Ahmed, Artist, writer and researcher
Georg Eder, Project manager TBA21-Academy
Stefanie Hessler, Curator TBA21-Academy
Zafer Kizilkaya, President of the Mediterranean Conservation Society
Margarida Mendes, Curator, educator and activist
Sandor Mulsow, Head of the Office of Resources and Environmental Monitoring at the International Seabed Authority
Nilufer Oral, Deputy Director of the Istanbul Bilgi Marine Research Center for the Law of the Sea
Lisa Rave, Artist and filmmaker
Markus Reymann, Director TBA21-Academy
and remote interventions from a variety of experts
Curated by Stefanie Hessler and Markus Reymann