The Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza and TBA21 Foundation are presenting Liquid Intelligence, a group exhibition on the critical situation of ocean life. It highlights more than a decade’s focus on the Foundation’s part to the creation of interdisciplinary research projects within the context of ecology, in which artistic practices play a key role.

The exhibition presents works by eight international artists, some belonging to the TBA21 Collection (Lucas Arruda, Jumana Manna and Ana Mendieta), two new productions by the Foundation (Beatriz Santiago Muñoz and Sonia Levy), and three installations that have been specially created for this occasion (Saelia Aparicio, Inês Zenha and Anne Duk Hee Jordan). The exhibition is accompanied by an extensive programme of activities that will bring together international curators, artists, musicians, performers, scientists, philosophers and researchers.

The driving force behind TBA21’s activities is the belief in art and culture as vehicles for social and environmental change. The Foundation is committed to the visibilisation of the need to preserve our oceans as a collective, public and shared responsibility and to devise artistic and scientific projects with the aim of creating knowledge and empathy that lead to action to ensure their regeneration and safeguarding. The health of the oceans is essential for the welfare of the planet. Their indiscriminate exploitation, acoustic and chemical pollution and future and present crises (such the current plans for deep-sea mining on a large scale) have unimaginable implications with regard to their deterioration and for our future as a species.

Understanding the ocean as liquid intelligence implies opening our minds and our capacity for admiration to the complexity of its ecosystems and to seeing it as an entity that not only transports and allows for the oxygen of life but also has its own intelligence - albeit different to our own - and the right to representation.

The exhibition and its accompanying programme of activities employ different artistic languages which create immersive experiences relating to the ocean and to aquatic ecosystems. The project encourages visitors to imagine a place in which power not only lies in the hands of human or artificial intelligence (which is after all a projection of the human type): a place in which the senses operate in a different manner and one from which to perceive the multiple forms of life in a non-hierarchic manner so that this imagination encourages us to construct a “more than human” world in which we can coexist with these life forms rather than destroying them.

Curators: Chus Martínez, with Soledad Gutiérrez and María Montero Sierra.

Selection of images