School of Waters

19th Biennale of Young Artists from Europe and the Mediterranean

Fig. 1 Emad Tajkhorshid and Klaus Schulten, Water Permeation Through Aquaporins, Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Source:

“If we think of the whole operation of a school as a performance, how does that change the ways we teach and learn, or what we think of as knowledge? […] Looking to performances themselves as sites of knowledge, […] we might engage with the public in critically reflecting on and imagining what a school can do and be.” Lauren Bakst, School of Temporary Liveness, University of the Arts School of Dance, 2019

“The waters that we comprise are never neutral; their flows are directed by intensities of power and empowerment. […] Water’s transits are neither necessarily benevolent, nor are they necessarily dangerous. They are rather material maps of our multivalent forms of marginality and belonging.” Astrida Neimanis, Bodies of Water: Posthuman Feminist Phenomenology, (London: Bloomsbury, 2017)

MEDITERRANEA 19 – School of Waters imagines a biennale as a temporary school inspired by radical and experimental pedagogies and the way they challenge artistic, curatorial, and research formats. From this standpoint, School of Waters acts as a collective tool to defamiliarise stereotypes that manipulate our geographical imaginaries, especially those linked to the eurocentric interpretation of the Mediterranean area.

Acknowledging that humans have the ability to gather, create a community and exchange information, through gossip, storytelling and speaking about things that do not exist, MEDITERRANEA 19 redirects its attention to arguments against human exceptionalism and aims to reconfigure the notion of learning through commoning knowledges present within non/human and human structures. School of Waters revolves around a critical rethinking of the material and symbolic agency of waters from a geopolitical and deep-ecology perspective. The desire to learn from waters reveals ways to un-train nationalisms and rediscover watery syncretism that constituted the Mediterranean as a complex platform of life forms and knowing processes.

The curatorial team develops MEDITERRANEA 19 as an ecology of practices, trickling through various spaces in resonance with the specificity of a small state such as the Republic of San Marino while the curatorial concept operates on a metaphorical and on a structural level. As Lisa Robertson suggests, “biting hair, writing in water, naming god, shaking cloth—the gesture is erased at the instant of its inscription, erased by the livid autonomy of its elemental support” (“On Water. A Proposition”, Tamawuj, Sharjah Biennial 13, 2018). In fact, the impossible act of writing in water is the core of an imagined school where water as a sentient entity is both amenable and resistant to cognitive taming.

Oceans, seas, ice caps, glaciers, lakes, rivers, aquifers, ponds, snow, rain are fluid, they melt, condense, evaporate and are able to traverse and appear in different states. These water formations suggest the possibility of reshaping the understanding of static identities and sense of belonging in the Mediterranean, starting not from the lands but from its waters.


BJCEM, the State Secretariat for Education and Culture of the Republic of San Marino, the Cultural Institutes of the Republic of San Marino and the University of the Republic of San Marino, announce the launch of MEDITERRANEA 19 Young Artists Biennale, a transnational Biennale, which will take place in the Republic of San Marino from October 2020 to February 2021 under the title School of Waters.

MEDITERRANEA 19 – School of Waters is dedicated to artists, writers and researchers under 35 (born from January 1st 1984) coming from or based within a constellation of territories related to the Mediterranean Sea. In this geopolitical frame, MEDITERRANEA 19 – School of Waters aims to reflect on exchanges and hybridizations as well as on crossed diasporas in the Mediterranean globalized space.
Founded in 1985 as a nomadic platform, the Biennale, is organized by BJCEM – Biennale des Jeunes Créateurs de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée. Throughout its history, it crossed the Mediterranean from Barcelona to Marseille, to Sarajevo, Rome, Athens and Tirana. In this perspective it has supported thousands of artists from more than 30 different countries over the course of his eighteen editions and thirty years, a mission confirmed and intensified with this edition. Each edition of the Biennale is therefore revealed with an opportunity for deepening, meeting, mobility, exchange and knowledge.
BJCEM is an international association with more than 50 affiliated members and partners in Europe, Asia and Africa, which join forces to make the Biennale possible and ensure the participation of emerging practitioners coming from or based in the Mediterranean territories in which they operate. The aim of this network is also to create pre-biennale opportunities for young cultural professionals to foster their mobility in the Mediterranean, through the participation to crossed exchanges, collaborative projects, training and research programs.

MEDITERRANEA 19 is curated by the participants to the third edition of A Natural Oasis? A Transnational Research Programme (2018 - 2020):

Senior Curators
Alessandro Castiglioni, Italy; Simone Frangi, Italy/France
(Founders and Directors of A Natural Oasis?)

Curatorial Board
Theodoulos Polyviou, Cyprus/UK; Denise Araouzou, Cyprus/Spain; Panos Giannikopoulos, Greece; Angeliki Tzortzakaki, Greece/Netherlands; Nicolas Vamvouklis, Greece/Italy; Giulia Gregnanin, San Marino/UK; Giulia Colletti, Italy/UK, (Research Fellows of A Natural Oasis? 2018 - 2020)