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Museo Nivola, Orani (Nu), October 25, 2019 – January 26, 2020

Curated by Elisa R. Linn and Lennart Wolff

Peter Fend (*1950) is an American who, in 1980, due to the advice of a lawyer, founded the Ocean Earth Construction and Development Corporation (“OCEAN EARTH”), as a legally incorporated successor to an artist venture, started in 1979, meant to deliver art ideas and practices to real-world clients. That venture included Jenny Holzer, Coleen Fitzgibbon, Fend, Richard Prince, Peter Nadin, Robin Winters. The first three bought stakes in the successor. It builds upon on structural and data-display concepts rights-negotiated with Dennis Oppenheim, Paul Sharits, Gordon Matta-Clark, and Carolee Schneemann, plus requests for real-world initiatives by Joseph Beuys (1980) and the United Nations Environment Program (1982, 1989, 2008). The firm has worked with scientists at Caltech, oceanographers in Plymouth, two oceanographic centers in then-St. Petersburg, and naval architect Marc Lombard. In 1981, shareholders Sharits, Fend and Fitzgibbon decided to start building knowledge about sites through sight-mimic processing of multispectral satellite data. This led quickly to authoritative monitoring for world news-media of the Falklands, Beirut, Libya, the Iran-Iraq war, Nicaragua, the Amazon Basin, and Chernobyl–with historical consequences. After six years, Western governments shut down this work. Since then, using knowledge built up by the firm, Fend presented multi-disciplinary projects at Documenta, biennials in Beijing, Yinchuan, Osaka, Venice, Liverpool and Sharjah, all towards practical solutions to economic and ecological crises. Direct response to government officials is underway in Algeria, Ukraine, Norway, Italy, NZ. Since 1988, commercial galleries have displayed Fend-led work, notably American Fine Arts, Esther Schipper, Essex Street, Christian Nagel, Barbara Weiss, Georg Kargl, Pinksummer, Le Case d’Arte. Talks have been at major architecture schools, art schools, military think tanks, the US Congress Office of Technology Assessment (with commissioned report), the UN Correspondents Association (twice; sponsored by the US, Russian and Turkish press), architecture festivals, even international scientific conferences. The list of works confiscated or doctored is probably longer than of those extant; many authorities find that art in the real world, on real-world terms, might threaten their professions, or–some say–the State. The firm launched its worldwide business with a 1982 show at The Kitchen, NY called “Art of the State.”.

Elisa R. Linn is a curator and writer based in Berlin and New York, and a graduate of the Whitney Independent Study Curatorial Program. Her writing has appeared in publications and magazines including Texte zur Kunst, Artforum as well as frieze. Together with Lennart Wolff she co-founded the curatorial project km temporaer. Recent and upcoming projects include performances, screenings and exhibitions at institutions and galleries such as Galerie Francesca Pia (Zurich, CH, 2019); National Gallery Prague (Prague, CZ, 2018); Royal Academy of Arts (London, GB, 2018); Bronx Museum (New York, USA, 2018); South London Gallery (London, UK, 2018); and the German Center for Architecture (Berlin, DE, 2018). 

Lennart Wolff is an architect and curator based in Berlin. He graduated from the Architectural Association, London. In 2018 he co-founded the AA Visiting School Zurich. He has written for magazines like frieze, Kaleidoscope and Cura.


Curated by Elisa R. Linn and Lennart Wolff

On behalf of a legally-incorporated company of visual artists, founded in 1980 and named “ Ocean Earth, ” Peter Fend, a US citizen born in 1950, presents solutions for the current climate and water crisis in Sardinia, to be extended along the bird and insect flyways between sub-Sahara Africa and the Arctic.1 

All the work shown is the intellectual property of the company, named Ocean Earth Development Corporation, or its partly-held subsidiary of Latin Americans, named TVGOV. The solutions displayed cannot possibly be accomplished by Peter Fend. They cannot even be accomplished alone by the company Ocean Earth, plus TVGOV. They can be accomplished by the people of Sardinia. This exhibition at Museo Nivola, in Orani, Nuoro Province, is addressed to the people of Sardinia — -with intention of follow-through action, for economic gain and ecological recovery, by the people of Sardinia. There ’ s plenty of meaningful and honorable work for everyone. 

(1) Organize Sardinia into its salt-sea catchments, or hydrometric areas, with separation therein of any dammed catchments, which accumulate sediments and waste. 

(2) Each catchment becomes a unit for resource management and taxation under principles of the first body of economic thought: Physiocracy. Land (& water) are declared to be the one foundation for economy, which must be preserved and improved. Since then, in 18th-century France, surrogates for land have become the foundation of economy: mineral fuels like coal, oil, gas — and uranium; and, in substitution of normal rivers, dammed reservoirs. These surrogates have no doubt harmed the planet ’ s ecology. They produce global warming, air and water pollution, eutrophication in streams, loss of animal diversity and deserts. Physiocracy can be launched in Sardinia to reverse such abuses of our land and water. This would be a world first. 

(3) In each dam catchment, and each salt-sea downstream, remove accumulated sediments and waste in the form of waterplants, grown with solar energy, and convert that into biogas or electricity. Feed the biogas into the expected all-methane supply stream, and send the electricity into local grids.
(4) Deconstruct high dams, restoring the original gradient with white-water rapids, collecting hydroelectric energy with suspended arrays of ultra-light Poncelet waterwheels mounted on Duchamp-model bicycle-wheel forks.

(5) In view of many technologies for energy for a region blessed with sun, wind, waves, sea-currents, and soil now accumulating in dams or flowing offshore, we say, DO NOT build any gas pipeline or LNG terminal, especially for imported fossil LNG. Also, find ways to make the electricity from falling water not go through a central authority. Rely now on renewable energy, especially in this island with the lowest population density of anywhere in Italy. 

(6) Apply the same technologies in marshlands along migratory flyways. Single out salt lakes west of the Gulf of Gabes, Tunisia, Lake Chad, artificial lakes near Milan and on the Ruhr, and Norway ’ s fjords. 

All action here, though based on what are normally assigned to art, is an extension of art into inhabited space, occupied though time. This is called Architecture. Leon Battista Alberti wrote that Architecture meets the needs of any inhabited area, in this case, Sardinia, for (1) clean air, (2) living waters, (3) ease of movement and (4) defense. Ocean Earth has done research and developed plans for sites worldwide in all four sectors of Architecture. Almost no professionally-trained architect today does this. Can Sardinia, with its very low population density and already-established urban forms, largely on heights, become a model for Alberti ’ s principles. In this case, extending the practices along the bird flyway, to assure survival of nutrient-transferring migrants from African jungles to Arctic tundra, and back, is a form of territorial defense. 

1 The firm builds on structural and data-display concepts rights-negotiated with Dennis Oppenheim, Paul Sharits, Gordon Matta-Clark, and Carolee Schneemann, plus invitations for real-world initiatives by Joseph Beuys and the United Nations Environment Program. The firm has worked with scientists at Caltech, oceanographers in Plymouth, and two oceanographic centers in St. Petersburg. The firm has had a stormy history: government interventions, such as seizure of satellite data, led–inadvertently–to a quick end to the Falklands war, Iran ending an Iraqi earthworks invasion, Iraq then deciding to invade Kuwait, and revelations to the world press (and scientists) of an ongoing instability of reactor sites at Chernobyl, with long-term effects on water policy in the Black, Caspian and Aral Seas. 

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