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Marine Science



30th anniversary of ground-breaking Antarctic agreement. Signed in Madrid on October 4, 1991, the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty came into force in 1998, designating Antarctica as a “natural reserve, devoted to peace and science” (Art. 2).

In honour of the 30th anniversary of the Antarctic Environmental Protocol and building upon TBA21’s 20-year long commitment to environmental and peace advocacy and its long-term relationship with the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, TBA21 will present a publication-centred exhibition and conference at the museum, with the collaboration of the Spanish Ministry of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge and its Minister Teresa Ribera.

Exhibition, October 2-12, 2021

Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza

“Antarctic Resolution” is the first holistic body of research ever produced on the Antarctic which offers a high-resolution image of our seventh continent. Developed by UNLESS, a non-profit agency for change founded by architect Giulia Foscari, in collaboration with the world’s leading experts on Antarctica, the encyclopaedic project focuses on the continent’s unique geography, unparalleled scientific potential, contemporary geopolitical significance, experimental governance system, and extreme inhabitation model.

Accounting for approximately 10 % of the land mass of Planet Earth, the Antarctic is a Global Commons we collectively neglect. Far from being a pristine natural landscape, the continent is a contested territory which conceals resources that might prove irresistible in a world with ever- increasing population growth. The 26 quadrillion tons of ice accumulated on its bedrock, equivalent to around 70% of the freshwater on our planet, represent at once the most significant repository of scientific data available, providing crucial information for future environmental policies,  and the greatest menace to global coastal settlements threatened by the rise in sea levels induced by anthropogenic global warming.” – Giulia Foscari, Antarctic Resolution

Premiered in the twofold format of publication and exhibition at the 17thArchitecture Biennale of Venice, “Antarctic Resolution” was reproduced in its installation form by TBA21 as an integral part of its commitment to support of artistic research projects underlining the urgencies caused by our anthropogenic world. The installation will be exhibited at the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, in Madrid alongside an impressive photograph of the southernmost cryosphere taken by Paolo Pellegrin during NASA’s Operation IceBridge as evidence of the alarming pace by which Antarctic glaciers are relentlessly calving icebergs into the Southern Ocean.

Aspiring to catalyse and disseminate knowledge on the Antarctic, the monumental 1000 page publication of “Antarctic Resolution” – which encompasses over 150 authored texts, a vast portfolio of photographic essays, data-based visualisations and detailed architectural drawings – reveals the intricate web of growing economic interests, tensions and international rivalries overtly at play in the continent, and calls for action.

The publication is available to purchase online at Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza’s Shop, at Lars Müller Publishers, and Artbook.

Inauguration Round Table, Saturday October 2nd, 2021, at noon

Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza. Auditorium.

To reserve your tickets, click here

Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza (TBA21 Founder and Chair)

Giulia Foscari (Founder of UNLESS)

James N. Barnes (Founder of the Antarctic & Southern Ocean Coalition, ASOC)

Pascal Lamy (Co-chair, Antarctica 2020, Former Director-General of the World Trade Organization, WTO)

Emil Dediu (Pew Charitable Trusts)

“Given the profound ecological upheavals underway in Antarctica from the climate and biodiversity crises, we need to preserve the spirit with which the Madrid Protocol was agreed 30 years ago today, and commit to further bold action to protect this fragile wilderness” James N. Barnes, Board Chair of the Antarctica and Southern Ocean Coalition.


Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21) is a leading international art and advocacy foundation harnessing the power of art as an agent for change. With hubs in Madrid and Venice that radiate worldwide, TBA21 has partnered on the realization of more than 100 works that engage the public in the most pressing issues of our times. Created in 2002 by the activist, philanthropist, and collector Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza, TBA21 represents the fourth generation of the Thyssen family’s commitment to the arts.

Antarctic Resolution. Image courtesy of UNLESS. Copyright: Delfino Sisto Legnani