Between Land and Sea is a long-term artistic research program which unites the political and environmental impact the Mediterranean is facing with a specific focus on liquid territories as a rich natural habitat, a connector between different shores, and water as an economic asset.

Italy, Tunisia, Germany

Curated by Izabela Anna Moren

The focus lies on combining scientific and artistic research practices and building collaborative alliances across different parts of the Mediterranean. “Between Land and Sea” saw its first iteration in the namesake festival in Palermo in 2021; it was conceived together with Dream City Biennale Tunis and Theater Bremen and will be hosted in the two cities in 2022.

Water is quite literally at the centre of the Mediterranean which etymologically translates to “the sea in the middle of the earth”. Not only does the Mediterranean Sea connect the shores of different countries and cultures, but it also acts as a habitat for many species and has been a source of food and income for people all around it. For example, its waters are shared by many fishermen, and the lack of produce is experienced by all of them, leading to social phenomena like migration in Tunisia and across the African continent. At the same time, the Strait of Sicily is (after the Strait of Messina) among the most polluted marine areas in the world.

The management of sweet water resources is equally important as it connects directly to agriculture, another substantial part of Mediterranean heritage. While the weather conditions on land become more unforeseeable with global warming, large export-oriented industrial agriculture operations often monopolise the use of precious local water resources. Small-scale farmers remain with insufficient or no resources at all. Simultaneously, the heat and extreme temperatures favour the desertification of the land, making it unable to soak in the tempestuous amounts of rainfall that represent the other side of climate change in the Mediterranean. 

While the changes in sea and land are stark local phenomena with dire consequences, they are not unique and can thus be approached collectively. On the one hand, a transnational network of exchange and expertise must be established to provide solidarity and create unionised power. On the other hand, communication is key. Investigative journalism, social sciences and artistic practice are invited to collaborate in articulating substantial narratives uniting culture and agriculture.

The research projects School of Water Scarcity, The Last Fishermen and Aqua Dentro will commence in March 2022 and collect knowledge from Sicily, Tunisia and Ghana, as well as other satellites further North and South looking at fishermen at sea and land, agriculture in the context of small-scale farming, and local, applicable ways of water saving.

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