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OCEA(n): Ocean Commons Entanglement Apparatus (in the absence of the concept of ‘Nature’) is designed to introduce people to the complexities of gathering and protecting living resources of the oceans. OCEA(n) includes three mobile research platforms, each of which contain tools to engage a series of specific questions concerning monitoring, mapping and eating. Packed with nets, maps, tide books, a gps enabled computer and modular furniture, these provisional workstations fold into small, easily portable units. 

During its journey along the Northwest Atlantic coastline, OCEA(n) will wander across various geographic, ecological and institutional boundaries to revisit contemporary ideas about cultural-natural world relationships. The goal is to catalyze at the scale of a region new long-term practices to support a resilient ocean + land ecosystem. 

Travel becomes a core logic in assisting in the continued transformation of the roles of fishermen into natural historians, consumers into entangled citizens, and scientists into qualitative researchers. In addition travel allows this project to support the development of community supported fisheries and host events that bring together distinct communities around pleasure and curiosity of our oceans. How do we relate the ocean’s ecosystems with our own? In the simplest sense, how are we part of the ocean? These are some of the questions we set out to explore with OCEA(n), said Iain Kerr, one of the members of Spurse. The exhibit at the Whitney Museum of American Art includes and goes beyond food production to encompass the whole relationship people have with the sea.

OCEA(n) is a collaboration between spurse and the Norhtwest Atlantic Marine Alliance. The project was developed as part of a New School for Social Research COLLAB Design Studio (George Bixby, Chris Hennelly, Kat Reilly, and Nadia Shazana).The project has received generous support from the Andrus Family Fund and LEF. OCEA(n) is one of thirteen works presented in the 2010 Whitney Independent Study Program exhibition called UNDERCURRENTS: Experimental Ecosystems in Recent Art. Organized by curatorial fellows Anik Fournier, Michelle Lim, Amanda Parmer and Robert Wuilfe, the exhibition was held from May 27th through June 19th, 2010, at The Kitchen (512 West 19th Street, New York City), and is accompanied by an exhibition catalog published by the Whitney Museum of American Art in association with Yale University Press. One of the three tables was purchased by the Mystic Seaport Museum  for inclusion in Mary Mattingly’s exhibition Open Ocean in 2019.

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