About The Universal Sea

The interdisciplinary movement to accelerate positive futures of our oceans!

The amount of plastic in our waterways grows dramatically, and micro-plastic has already found its way into our food chain. No matter if it is bottled water or tap water, plastic is everywhere – not just far away in the ocean. Other issues are acidification, resource mining that stresses marine species, and many more. Even as these facts are spread more and more by mass media, comprehensive (re-)actions are still missing.

Can cross-sectoral collaborations catalyze change?
We explore new collaboration models between art, science, technology, and business. For us, art is at the core of our joint efforts, as it can reach people emotionally, spark creativity and motivate people to get involved. “The Universal Sea” experiments with exploring new business models for artists and cultural actors. It is about rediscovering the role of the artist in our society and revealing the opportunities that arise when art meets science and entrepreneurship. With the collaboration of experts and the public, we identify and co-create solutions that address the burning water issues be it pollution, acidification and warming. We believe that art can trigger action, open new perspectives and support the development of creative solutions.

You find our show reel HERE!

Our aim is to generate solutions that stop the plastic epidemic,  especially in our waters!
The project brings a vibrant series of events to different places in Europe and abroad. Each station focussing on local needs and challenges consists of an exhibition, artistic interventions, inspirational insights and success stories from thought-leaders and innovation drivers. A co-creation workshop unites the diverse perspectives of the present local community. By bringing together artists, scientists, entrepreneurs and other experts, we have grown an inspiring network of innovators and change-makers exchanging knowledge and best practices.

Our History
We view artists as catalysts for change with their ability to think critically and creatively. Thus, we began this art and innovation project with a worldwide Open Call in the end of 2017. Out of more than 250 applications from 38 countries, the international jury chose five artists to join our intensive collaboration journey. These artists ran participatory actions with the public and worked closely together with experts.

In June 2018 we enthusiastically launched our second international Open Call for artist submissions. From the top publicly voted artworks in each category, REACT, REDUCE, REPLACE, The Universal Sea jury chose three talented winners. Shortly afterwards, this time with a focus on film, we launched our third international Open Call for short films and presented an amazing program at Trafo House cinema in Budapest as part of our 2 months long Art Moments – The Universal Sea Budapest Festival in fall 2018.

Our book that features 600+ artists and 500+ innovators from 70 countries fighting the plastic epidemic in our waters was published in March 2019. Readers say it is an inspirational source for you and everyone on this planet to take action.

So, what are you doing to fight water issues?

So far, The Universal Sea project has been a massive undertaking, bringing together more than 1100 artists and business innovators, 70 (scientific) institutions including 25 universities and 10 festivals. In less than two years we have attracted an audience of 5.5 million visitors and 1.7 million online visitors, coming from 70 countries and 6 continents.

Now, our dynamic online platform serves our community by spreading ideas, actions, and solutions. It works as a hub to visualize our network and its diverse activities. Additionally, we have been building a Facebook base of almost 35k like-minded followers.

Let us know about your ideas and actions. Join our movement – participate in our events and become part of our network. Together we can make change happen!

The Universal Sea was initiated and is run by the Institute for Art and Innovation e.V. (Berlin, Germany).

The project was kindly supported and co-funded by the Creative Europe program (2017 – 2019). As an independent non-profit initiative it was coordinated during that period by the Foundation for Entrepreneurship (Berlin, Germany), in partnership with the Center of Polish Sculpture (Oronsko, Poland) and Hybridart Management (Budapest, Hungary), in cooperation with EUCC-D (Rostock, Germany).

Featured image by Alex Cote.