In 2021 TBA21–Academy’s Ocean Space showcased a newly commissioned work by artist and choreographer Isabel Lewis entitled O.C.E.A.N.I.C.A. (Occasions Creating Ecologically Attuned Narratives in Collective Action), whereby participants and visitors were invited to dance through the Ocean. The exhibition-performance was unveiled in the second chapter of “The Soul Expanding Ocean,” a series of exhibitions by Ocean Space’s 2021–2022 curator Chus Martínez, which proposed that humanity approach the Ocean through the lens of a new epistemological universe conceived through attention to sensual values, a mandate of care, and the principle of love; an approach that permeates TBA21 on st_age.
O.C.E.A.N.I.C.A is an invitation to become attuned to our continuity with the Ocean, and to transform and articulate a different relation through doing so. Lewis asks participants to be careful with the language they use when pertaining to the Ocean, to be aware of the questions such language poses and to open themselves to unexpected findings. The Ocean, then, appears in front of participants and visitors as a method, a pedagogy that leads individuals into another form of relating to nature. It is a form of relation that gives nature agency, one that acknowledges the differences of the lives that move and act and think and sense besides humans. Art and artists are guiding humanity into the recovery and rehabilitation of its current relation to the Ocean. For this reason, a reprogramming of bodies is necessary to become more saliently cognizant of the human potential to be oceanic. Hands, skin, eyes, noses, ears—all organs need to learn to feel the Ocean, even when the Ocean is not there, yet.