Stefanie Hessler

Stefanie Hessler is Curator at TBA21–Academy in London and Guest Professor and Curator for Art Theory at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm.

  • Prospecting Ocean

    Prospecting Ocean

    Stefanie Hessler

    Investigating the entanglement of industry, politics, culture, and economics at the frontier of ocean excavations through an innovative union of art and science.

    The oceans are crucial to the planet's well-being. They help regulate the global carbon cycle, support the resilience of ecosystems, and provide livelihoods for communities. The oceans as guardians of planetary health are threatened by many forces, including growing extractivist practices. Through the innovative lens of artistic research, Prospecting Ocean investigates the entanglement of industry, politics, culture, and economics at the frontier of ocean excavation. The result is a richly illustrated study that unites science and art to examine the ecological, cultural, philosophical, and aesthetic reverberations of this current threat to the oceans.

    Prospecting Oceans takes as its starting point an exhibition by the photographer and filmmaker Armin Linke, which was commissioned by TBA21–Academy, London, and first shown at the Institute of Marine Science (CNR-ISMAR) in Venice. Linke is concerned with making the invisible visible, and here he unmasks the technologies that enable extractions from the ocean, including future seabed mining for minerals and sampling of genetic data. But the book extends far beyond Linke's research, presenting the latest research from a variety of fields and employing art as the place where disciplines can converge. Integrating the work of artists with scientific, theoretical, and philosophical analysis, Prospecting Ocean demonstrates that visual culture offers new and urgent perspectives on ecological crises.

    • Hardcover $29.95 £22.50
  • Tidalectics

    Tidalectics

    Imagining an Oceanic Worldview through Art and Science

    Stefanie Hessler

    Essays, research, and art projects that formulate a Tidalectic worldview, addressing our most threatened ecosystem: the oceans.

    The oceans cover two-thirds of the planet, shaping human history and culture, home to countless species. Yet we, as mostly land-dwelling humans, often fail to grasp the importance of these vast bodies of water. Climate change destabilizes notions of land-based embeddedness, collapses tropes of time and space, and turns our future more oceanic. Tidalectics imagines an oceanic worldview, with essays, research, and artists' projects that present a different way of engaging with our hydrosphere. Unbound by land-based modes of thinking and living, the essays and research in Tidalectics reflect the rhythmic fluidity of water. 

    Tidalectics emerges from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21)–Academy, the only Western arts organization entirely dedicated to work on climate change and the oceans. In 2016, TBA21–Academy became the first cultural organization to gain UN observer status at the International Seabed Authority Assembly. The book presents newly commissioned work from a range of disciplines and often-neglected perspectives, alongside classic “anchor texts” by such writers as Rachel Carson. The contributors include an anthropologist from Fiji, a Norwegian scholar who specializes in maritime legal history, the author of the first comparative history of Caribbean and Pacific Island literatures, and a poet from Barbados who coined the term “tidalectics” as a play on “dialectics.” The art projects documented in the book form part of an exhibition curated by the volume's editor, and include a video of the infinite whites, blues, and grays of Antarctica; a collection of oceanic smells from the Caribbean and Pacific coasts of Costa Rica; and a quartz submersible capsule designed to communicate with cetaceans. Tidalectics provides a unique collection of the strongest voices in oceanic thinking, bridging arts, oceanography, history, law, and environmental studies.

    With contributions by Nabil Ahmed, Tamatoa Bambridge, Kamau Brathwaite, Guigone Camus, Rachel Carson, Cynthia Chou, Paul D'Arcy, Tony deBrum, Elizabeth DeLoughrey, Keller Easterling, Bill Graham, Francesca von Habsburg, Stefan Helmreich, Stefanie Hessler, Cresantia Frances Koya Vaka'uta, Rosiana Lagi, Stéphanie Leyronas, Chus Martínez, Astrida Neimanis, Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Markus Reymann, Philip E. Steinberg, Khal Torabully, Lingikoni Vaka'uta, Davor Vidas, Susanne M. Winterling

    Artists surveyed in the book Atif Akin, Darren Almond, Julian Charrière, Em'kal Eyongakpa, Tue Greenfort, Ariel Guzik, Newell Harry, Alexander Lee, Eduardo Navarro, Sissel Tolaas, Janaina Tschäpe & David Gruber, Jana Winderen, Susanne M. Winterling

    Copublished with TBA21-Academy, London

    • Hardcover $34.95 £27.00